The Latest: Police urge Hong Kong residents not to protest
HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on the protests in Hong Kong (all times local):
Police have appealed to Hong Kong residents to stay away from any non-authorized rallies on Saturday after authorities banned a major march, warning that those caught could face a five-year jail term.
The police commander of Hong Kong island, Kwok Pak Chung, said Friday that he was aware of social media messages urging people to take strolls or hold rallies in the name of religion.
The organizers of the march called it off after an appeals board upheld police objections to it.
Kwok said police would act sternly against anyone out to create trouble or incite violence. He said police have sufficient manpower and equipment for any untoward incident.
He urged the public to “make a clear break with all acts of violence and stay away from locations where violent clashes may take place.”
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has vowed not to give up after he was charged with inciting others to join a protest outside a police station in June.
Wong told reporters Friday that “we will continue our fight no matter how they arrest and prosecute us.”
He and fellow activist Agnes Chow were released on bail after being arrested and charged earlier in the day.
Chow echoed his comments, saying “we Hong Kong people won’t give up and won’t be scared … we will keep fighting for democracy.”
Several protesters have been charged in recent days in connection with protests that started in June and have continued for more than two months.
The pro-democracy group Demosisto says Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow have been granted bail.
Demosisto leader Wong and member Chow were arrested Friday morning on suspicion of inciting and participating in an unauthorized assembly. Wong is also suspected of organizing the unauthorized assembly.
The high-profile arrests sparked outrage among protesters who accused authorities of sowing “white terror” and attempting to pinpoint leaders in what demonstrators have said is a leaderless movement.
Hong Kong has experienced nearly three months of anti-government demonstrations as residents of the semi-autonomous Chinese city call for electoral reforms and an independent inquiry into police actions.
Taiwan is seeking information from China about a Taiwanese man missing since last week and who had reportedly distributed photos of Chinese troops just outside protest-racked Hong Kong.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said family members sought help after being unable to reach Lee Meng-chu since Aug. 20. The government-run Central News Agency said he apparently had sent photos to his brother and to a local official showing paramilitary troops outside Hong Kong.
Council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng told reporters Friday that Taiwan wanted to know his whereabouts, “then eventually how to get him safely back to Taiwan.”
Taiwanese leaders have spoken in support of the protesters who’ve staged a summer of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.
Chinese paramilitary troops held exercises in a sports complex in Shenzhen in mid-August that were interpreted by some as a threat they may crack down on the protests.
Demosisto’s vice chairperson says the arrests of two prominent members of the pro-democracy group are an attempt to spread fear and “white terror” among Hong Kong residents.
Isaac Cheng spoke to reporters Friday about the arrests of activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow before Saturday’s banned rally. Cheng accused authorities of trying to identify leaders in a “leaderless” movement that has rocked Hong Kong for nearly three months.
Cheng says the Communist Party-ruled government in Beijing is pulling the strings and has “misjudged” the situation. He is urging residents to continue protesting despite a high risk of arrest.
Wong and Chow were arrested Friday on suspicion of participating in an unauthorized June protest and inciting others to join it.
The organizers of a major pro-democracy march planned for Saturday in Hong Kong have called it off after an appeals board denied permission to hold it.
It’s unclear if protesters would still gather for any unauthorized demonstration.
Bonnie Leung of the Civil Human Rights Front said Friday that the group had no choice but to cancel the march because of concern for the physical and legal safety of participants.
Her organization had applied for permission to march to the Chinese government’s liaison office in Hong Kong. The march was planned to mark the fifth anniversary of China’s decision against allowing fully democratic elections for the leader of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong police have confirmed the arrest of activist Joshua Wong and another member of the pro-democracy group Demosisto.
Police said Friday that Wong and Agnes Chow were being investigated for their role in a June 21 unauthorized protest outside a police station.
Both face potential charges of participating in the demonstration and inciting others to join it. Wong also is being investigated on suspicion of organizing it.
Demosisto said earlier that both had been taken to police headquarters in the morning.
A pro-democracy group in Hong Kong says well-known activist Joshua Wong has been arrested.
Demosisto posted on its social media accounts that Wong had been pushed into a private car around 7:30 a.m. Friday and was taken to police headquarters. It later said another member, Agnes Chow, had been arrested as well.
Police did not immediately confirm either arrest.
Wong is secretary-general of the group and was one of the student leaders of major pro-democracy demonstrations in 2014.
He was released from prison in June after serving a two-month sentence related to that protest. He has been speaking out regularly in support of the pro-democracy protests that have racked Hong Kong this summer.
This story has been corrected to show that missing Taiwanese man’s name is spelled Lee Meng-chu instead of Lee Meng-ju.