Hong Kong police on Friday rejected an application by march organizers Civil Human Front (CHRF) to hold a pro-democracy march on October 1, China’s National Day, saying there was a risk of violence and a widespread coronavirus transmission.
The organizers had planned to march from Causeway Bay to the Central business district on Thursday, a date that also coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival in the traditional lunar calendar.
“We have received letters of objection from #HKPolice on the 10.1 rally,” the CHRF said via its Twitter account on Friday, adding: “We will appeal.”
A copy of the letter, published by the CHRF, said that there had been “various violent incidents” during previous marches organized by the group, and that the proposed march passed “high-risk buildings” including police headquarters and the Supreme Court.
“Given that the general mood is still unstable at the moment, the police have good reason to believe that some demonstrators will deviate from the planned path to commit violent acts of vandalism,” the letter said.
CHRF convener Jimmy Sham has called on Hong Kongers to wear black instead of registering their protest over the incarceration of 12 Hong Kong activists in a detention center in Shenzhen after trying to flee to the democratic island of Taiwan by motorboat.
None of the lawyers appointed by the families of the 12 activists aged 16 to 33 have been allowed to see their clients.
A lawyer instructed by Yim Man Him’s family told RFA on Friday that he had been denied permission to visit his client by authorities at the Shenzhen Yantian Police Department on Thursday.
The lawyer then went to the municipal law office, where he discovered that two government lawyers had already been appointed to act on Yim’s behalf. “Request for legal aid” was dated the same day, he said.
The lawyer told RFA that the speed with which the request was made indicated that it had been triggered by his request for a meeting with Yim.
Imprisoned for riots
The protest ban came when a city court handed down a four-year prison sentence to a 26-year-old man for “riots” and violations of his bail, after he allegedly attacked a non-uniformed police officer during a protest outside the police headquarters on June 26, 2019. .
Judge Anthony Kwok sentenced Shum Hiu-lun, saying that although the officer was not injured in the incident, the presence of a large crowd at the time justified a harsher punishment.
Shum was also disguised at the time in a blatant attempt to conceal his identity, which the judge said he considered an aggravating factor.
Kwok said protesters had completely blocked all entrances to the police association, seriously affected police operations and acted “in an extremely provocative and insulting manner.”
But he said the violence Shum used was at a “lower level” than other protest-related crimes such as bricklaying and assault.
Meanwhile, a 24-year-old office worker who was charged with “possession of an offensive weapon” was acquitted after she allegedly slammed a laser pen against police officers in a nearby car in the West Kowloon Magistracy.
Magistrate Lam Tsz-kan said the prosecutor had not shown that Wong Hoi-lam had intended to harm anyone, and that laser pointers are common office equipment, the government company RTHK reported.
Lam said Wong was 70 meters from the police vehicle at the time of the incident, and her actions could not have harmed anyone, the report said.
Hong Kong police arrested thousands of people in connection with protests that swept the city for most of last year, on charges that rights groups and overseas officials have said undermine the city’s traditional freedom of expression and association, guaranteed by China under the 1997 terms of surrender.
Hundreds more have been arrested since July 1, when the ruling Chinese Communist Party introduced a draconian national security law against Hong Kong that bans words and deeds considered by the authorities to be separatism, subversion or terrorism or collusion with a foreign power.
In August, the United States announced sanctions against Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and leading Chinese and Hong Kong officials for their role in restricting the city’s promised freedoms and in implementing the national security regime, which has seen China’s dreaded state security police set up headquarters in the city.
This week, a Swedish company that provides law enforcement and authorities to extract data from mobile phones said it had withdrawn its operations from Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported.
Stockholm-based Micro Systemation AB said that it made the decision after the United States abolished Hong Kong’s special trading status on 14 July.
Bloomberg quoted an email from Deputy CEO Mike Dickinson as saying that the company would no longer “deliver solutions” to the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force or any other government agency due to the impact on the company’s US business.
The company had previously delivered data mining technology to government agencies after starting operations in China in 2013, Bloomberg quoted its website as saying.
Its technology was used by Hong Kong authorities to investigate the telephone contents of Democratic activist Joshua Wong after he was arrested in October 2019, police documents show.
Cyber security expert Sang Young told RFA that the company’s move came more from a “risk perspective” than any moral issues.
“For them, Hong Kong is not such a big market, so they would rather just not care about it,” Young said.
He said the company’s products could extract data from both Android and Apple phones.
General information that RFA gained access to this week showed that the company counts law enforcement agencies, military and state intelligence services and forensic laboratories among its customers.
Reported by Gigi Lee, Man Hoi-tsan and Tseng Yat-yiu for RFA’s Cantonese service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
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