Activists raise concerns over fugitives bill at Berlin forum

Local | 5 Jun 2019 10:27 am

Two Hong Kong activists recently granted asylum by Germany voiced their concerns yesterday over the government's proposed extradition changes to German lawmakers. They were speaking at a June fourth forum organized by politicians in Berlin, RTHK reports.
Speaking for the first time at a public event since he was granted refugee status, Ray Wong - the former leader of the pro-independence group Hong Kong Indigenous - said he was initially worried he would be extradited when he was seeking Germany's protection, until he met another refugee.
Wong said that since he set up the pro-independence group, the central and Hong Kong governments had viewed him as a threat. Apart from barring him from standing in elections, he claimed the authorities here tried to use riot charges against him and several others including localist Edward Leung. 
He said such charges had been criticized by the United Nations as violating human rights. But Wong told the forum that his views have changed over the past few years and he no longer advocates Hong Kong independence.
Wong also warned against changes to the government's proposed extradition laws. He said that if passed, they would break the firewall between the territory and the mainland - impacting one country, two systems. He expressed hope that the international community could pressure Hong Kong to rethink its action. 
Alan Li, a former member of Hong Kong Indigenous, added that he believes Hong Kong is in a very dangerous situation with the extradition bill about to be passed. He said the legislation will damage its judicial system, and will lead to the departure of businessmen, causing damage to Hong Kong's economic development.
Two years ago, the two were facing rioting charges over the 2016 Lunar new year clashes in Mong Kok, which erupted after a dispute over the clearance of food vendors. Pitched street battles saw mobs attack police officers with bricks and sticks.
They skipped bail and fled to Germany in 2017 and applied for protection - which they said was approved last May.

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