Uproar as three customs officers suspended after arrest at rally

Top News | Mandy Zheng 3 Jul 2020

Three customs officers arrested at the July 1 protest have been suspended from their duties.

Hermes Tang Yi-hoi, the customs commissioner, said he is "enraged" by the arrests.

"All staff should abide by the law, fully support and cooperate with the government and the police's work to stop violence and curb disorder," Tang said.

"We will not tolerate any unlawful and rule-breaking behavior and will definitely deal with them seriously."

The three were among some 370 protesters arrested on Wednesday.

It is understood that their arrests were related to unlawful assembly as the demonstration organized by the Civil Human Rights Front was banned by police, who cited health risks amid the pandemic.

Still, thousands defied the ban and took to the streets.

Police yesterday gave details on some of the arrests during a press conference. Thirty-three men and 12 women were arrested on suspicion of joining an unlawful assembly at Times Square in Causeway Bay, with some digging up bricks from the ground.

Among them was a secondary school student, 17, who allegedly carried three Molotov cocktails - one intact and two broken - in his backpack.

Two youngsters aged 16 and 17 were arrested at the MTR Tin Hau station for allegedly vandalizing the lights, CCTV and electronic screens with umbrellas.

Police also found a suspicious box outside the C C Wu Building in Wan Chai, which created a sound similar to an explosion and had smoke coming out. It was found to contain two plastic bottles with chemicals, which turned out to be flammable but not explosive.

Separately, People Power member Tam Tak-chi said police told a youngster who they said violated the security law that it is highly likely that he would be refused bail. The youngster, arrested near the Central Library in Causeway Bay, allegedly carried a flag saying "Hong Kong independence is the only way out" in his backpack.

Tam and lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen from the same party were granted bail of HK$500 each after being arrested for illegal assembly.

Meanwhile, relatives and friends of those arrested waited outside the North Point police station, where 180 protesters were said to be detained in the late evening on Wednesday.

Cops also arrested a man, 24, in Mong Kok for allegedly hurling a petrol bomb at a police car on Nathan Road at around 1pm.

The bomb missed the vehicle and the officers were unharmed.

They chased down the suspect, apprehending him and found another petrol bomb, gloves and a lighter.

mandy.zheng@singtaonewscorp.com

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