Posse of Thai cops awaited Joshua Wong; Beijing avoids the subject

Local | 5 Oct 2016 3:32 pm

A Thai security report obtained by The Associated Press said that more than 10 police officials from the Royal Thai Police Special Branch and Immigration Police were waiting for activist Joshua Wong of the Demosisto Party when he arrived. It said that he was questioned and not allowed to use his cellphone or computer. (Pictured, protesters in Hong Kong decry the Thai junta).

China's Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement that it was aware of reports of Wong's detention, but did not say whether China had asked Thailand to detain him _ only that it respected Thailand's ability to manage the entrance of people into the country "in accordance with law.'' 

Wong's case is sure to raise concern in Hong Kong, where residents are growing increasingly worried about Beijing overstepping its boundaries and undermining a "one-country, two systems'' formula that governs its relationship with the mainland. 

Many were shocked at the recent disappearances of five booksellers, including Chinese-born Gui Minhai, a naturalized Swedish citizen who went missing from his holiday home in Thailand and later turned up in mainland Chinese custody. 

Refusing entry to Wong would also be in line with recent moves by Thailand's military rulers, who seized power in a 2014 coup. 

The government has shown zero tolerance for dissent and has cracked down hard on its own student activists who have protested the military rule. It has detained students, stopped speeches from taking place and last month Thai authorities threatened to arrest Amnesty International speakers who were set to hold a news conference to release a report detailing allegations of torture at the hands of the military and police, causing the rights group to cancel the event. 

Wong was also turned back in May 2015 when trying to enter Malaysia to speak at seminars in four cities. Malaysian officials said Wong was banned from entering the country but did not explain why. 

Demosisto advocates a referendum on "self-determination'' on the future status of Hong Kong, which is in the middle of a 50-year transition period to Chinese rule.-AP


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