Activist arrested for flag damage

Local | Cindy Wan 23 May 2019

Tony Chung Hon-lam, convener of pro-independence group Studentlocalism, was arrested yesterday for damaging a national flag in a protest at the Legislative Council last week.

At about 7.50am yesterday, police officers knocked on his door and arrested him for criminal damage.

Chung was released in the afternoon on bail and is ordered to report to the police on June 21.

Chung, 18, was arrested for allegedly detaching the national flag from a flagpole that was held by a pro-Beijing protester and throwing the flag on the ground.

He questioned the timing of his arrest - a week after the incident - as he is to fly to Taiwan to meet political activists today to establish a new pro-independence group.

Chung told The Standard that he grabbed the flagpole to protect pro-independence activists from being hit.

He said supporters of both camps were yelling slogans in separated areas in the demonstration zone, when pro-Beijing activists had suddenly left their designated area. He said he then saw a middle-aged man hold a full-sized national flag over the crowd control barriers, in an attempt to hit the pro-independence activists.

"I was afraid that the flagpole would hurt the people inside, so I took it from the man," he said. "It was about 1.5 meters long."

Many police officers were outside the Legislative Council, but they did not stop the chaos, he said.

He found out the case had been filed days ago after overhearing police officers conversing between one another and after reading documents at the police station yesterday.

He said he would be meeting his Taiwanese activist friends to update them on the current situation of Hong Kong but has not scheduled meetings with Taiwanese officials yet.

He also said pro-independence activists in Hong Kong have been planning to establish a new group.

He said the group currently has about 40 members, but their political ideology, strategy and other details would not be released until June 30.

He plans to establish a cooperative relationship with Taiwanese activists when he goes on his trip.

Convener of the Students Independence Union Wayne Chan Ka-kui is also in Taiwan now.

In a separate case, officers are still pursuing two more suspects related to the protests.

The police received a report from a 51-year-old man surnamed Fu, who said he was attacked by a woman in her 50s in the protest.

The man said he was hit on the back by the woman and was later sent to Queen Mary Hospital for treatment.

A 69-year-old woman surnamed Wong also lodged a report to the police on the same day, saying her national flag was taken by a man between 50 to 60 years old.

She claimed the man tore off the national flag from the flagpole, which was bent by force.

The case is listed as common assault and criminal damage, and the Central District Police Station crime squad are still investigating.

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