Japanese tourist, Taiwanese student among arrested

Local | Charlotte Luo 20 Nov 2019

A Japanese tourist and a secondary student from Taiwan have been arrested during the standoff between police and radical protesters at Polytechnic University.

The Japanese government confirmed yesterday that 21-year-old Hikaru Ida, a student at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, has been detained by Hong Kong police since Sunday. He is the second Japanese to have been arrested since August 31 over the ongoing anti-government protests.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the government was working to secure his release and an official from Japan's consulate general in Hong Kong confirmed he was in good health.

Motegi expressed "strong concerns" over the situation in Hong Kong.

"We are viewing the situation with strong concerns and are calling on involved parties to resolve the matter peacefully," he said at a press conference yesterday in Tokyo.

The Taiwanese female student, surnamed Tai, has been staying on the campus since Sunday, until she left voluntarily and was arrested. She was then taken to Kwai Chung police station, where her mother went at around 1pm yesterday to assist with her case. The girl is a Secondary Five student, according to a statement issued by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called upon Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to conduct an independent investigation into protest-related incidents after expressing grave concerns over deepening political unrest and violence in Hong Kong, including the standoff between protesters and police at Polytechnic University and other campuses.

"We have repeatedly called for restraint from all parties in Hong Kong. Violence by any side is unacceptable," he said.

"The government must take clear steps to address public concerns. In particular, we call on Chief Executive Carrie Lam to promote accountability by supplementing the Independent Police Complaints Council review with an independent investigation into the protest-related incidents."

The European Union also urged restraint on all sides, said foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who stressed that "any violence is unacceptable."

"It is crucial that all sides exercise restraint and engage constructively in de-escalation efforts."

A spokesman for United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was concerned by the escalation in violence from both protesters and the authorities around university campuses in Hong Kong.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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