Police last night arrested two senior members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Movements of China and removed a second replica of the Goddess of Democracy from Times Square, a day after removing a larger statue from the same location.
On both occasions, police cited lack of license as the cause.
Taken into custody were alliance vice chairman Lee Cheuk-yan and member Leung Kwok-wah.
A group of 20 sympathizers gathered outside the North Point police station calling for their immediate release. Some even tried to force their way into the station. Both Lee and Leung were released on police bail of HK$100 each at 10.30pm. Upon his release, Lee shouted slogans and demanded that police return the seized statues before June 3. He also threatened to stage a bigger protest if they are not returned.
A statue of the Goddess of Democracy was first erected by protesting students in Tiananmen Square in 1989. It was smashed by a tank on June 4 but since then replicas have been erected to commemorate the event.
The statue removed yesterday measured just over two meters compared with the six-meter tall sculpture removed on Saturday when 13 Alliance members were arrested.
Before police moved in, members of the alliance and sympathizers who took part in a rally and protest outside the central government's liaison office, gathered at Times Square and chanted slogans.
Police arrived around 9pm after receiving complaints from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department that there was no license for the statue.
Several protesters tried to prevent the removal by lying on the road.
Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said the authority was merely exercising the law after receiving complaints.
About 1,000 people had earlier taken part in a pre-June 4 rally, marching from Victoria Park to the Central Government Offices despite heavy rain.
Organizers put the turnout at 2,500.
Alliance chairman Szeto Wah, who is suffering from cancer, turned up for the event in a wheelchair and wearing a surgical mask. He accused the government of "shameful" political suppression. "The arrest of 13 members [on Saturday] and the removal of the statue marks the most repressive act against the alliance," he said.