In this file photo taken on October 29, 2019, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong stands before the media after speaking at a press conference in Hong Kong. Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong was arrested on September 24, 2020 for “unlawful assembly” related to a 2019 protest against a government ban on face masks, his lawyer said. Photo: Anthony WALLACE / AFP
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was arrested Thursday for “illegal assembly” and flouting a controversial 2019 anti-mask law that banned the wearing of face masks and covers during large public gatherings.
The arrest was announced on Wong’s official Twitter account, which has more than 687,000 followers.
“Joshua was arrested when reporting to the Central Police Station at 1pm today,” it read, adding that charges were related to a rally last year on October 5, 2019 – at the height of pro-democracy protests aimed at pushing back against China’s expanding control over Hong Kong.
The anti-mask law was put in place before the COVID-19 pandemic and has been rarely enforced since.
Wong, who is no stranger to arrests, previously told VICE News about his fears of being detained under a new Beijing-backed National Security implemented in July.
The act bans all forms of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign countries. It carries a harsh maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The law has already been used to justify arrests of dozens of pro-democracy activists, including outspoken Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, and has been labeled by analysts and observers as a way for the mainland Chinese government to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong.
Wong also previously spoke out on Twitter against the detention of 12 Hong Kong activists who were fleeing by boat to nearby Taiwan to seek political asylum.
He raised his concerns about their welfare and said he feared they would be sent to China’s secretive court and prison system and denied access to legal support.
Via Vice News