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September 17, 2019
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Prominent pro-democracy activists arrested in HK before protests

HONG KONG: Authorities in Hong Kong arrested three prominent pro-democracy activists in less than 24 hours.

Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow of political party Demosisto were detained on Friday over a 21 June rally where protesters blockaded police HQ for 15 hours.

Independence campaigner Andy Chan was arrested at the airport on Thursday while trying to fly to Japan.

They are among 900 people arrested since protests began in June.

The Demosisto party said Mr Wong, 23, was “suddenly pushed into a private car on the street” while walking to a train station at around 07:30 local time. Both he and Ms Chow have been taken to police headquarters in Wan Chai.

Both activists were detained on suspicion of “inciting others to participate in an unauthorised assembly” and “knowingly taking part in an unauthorised assembly”.

They are accused of joining illegal protests and encouraging others to do so.

Mr Wong faces a further charge of “organising an unauthorised assembly”.

Andy Chan, founder of the Hong Kong National Party which campaigns for the territory’s independence, said he was detained on Thursday night while trying to board a flight from Hong Kong airport.

He was arrested on suspicion of rioting and assaulting a police officer, according to local outlet HKFP.

Joshua Wong is a well-known pro-democracy activist who played a leading role in the 2014 rallies known as Hong Kong’s “Umbrella protests” – so-called because protesters used umbrellas to shield themselves from police pepper spray.

Thousands joined marches demanding the right for Hong Kong to choose its own leader – and student leader Mr Wong became the movement’s poster boy.

His latest arrest comes just weeks after he was released from prison on 17 June.