Hong Kong police arrested three veteran pro-democracy figures for taking part in an unauthorized anti-government march last year amid the city’s most serious political crisis for decades. Jimmy Lai, the 71-year-old founder of Next Media, which publishes the popular, anti-government Apple Daily newspaper, was picked up by police on Friday morning for taking part in a march banned by police on 31 August.
Hong Kong reported its first coronavirus death on Tuesday, the second outside mainland China from a fast-spreading outbreak that has killed 427 people and threatened the global economy. The Chinese-ruled gambling hub of Macau asked casino operators to close for two weeks to help curb the virus. Hong Kong’s first fatality was a 39-year-old man with an underlying illness who had visited China’s Wuhan city.
Hong Kong’s leader pledged to listen to public opinion on Monday and referred to deep-seated problems in society after a landslide election victory by opponents of Chinese rule amid months of sometimes violent pro-democracy unrest. Democratic candidates secured almost 90% of 452 district council seats in Sunday’s poll, held during a rare weekend lull in clashes with police, despite a strongly resourced and mobilized pro-establishment opposition.
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation on Tuesday aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong amid a crackdown on a pro-democracy protest movement, drawing condemnation from Beijing. Under the first Senate bill, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to qualify for special U.S. trading consideration that bolsters its status as a world financial center.
Police in Hong Kong are preparing to clear a university which has been occupied by protesters for three days, with the city’s embattled leader vowing that anyone under 18 will not be immediately arrested. Around 100 anti-government protesters remain in Polytechnic University and are slowly running out of food as the police continue to lay siege to the campus.
Several protesters have been arrested while trying to run from a Hong Kong university campus surrounded by police. It is the third time protesters have tried to leave, following a fiery overnight stand-off with police. In the past week, the campus has turned into a battleground as long-running anti-government protests become more violent. The violence is some of the worst seen during months of unrest in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
A man has died in Hong Kong after being hit on the head during clashes between government supporters and protesters. The government said the 70-year-old cleaner was on a lunch break on Wednesday when he was struck by “hard objects hurled by masked rioters”. In London, Hong Kong’s Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng was hurt after being jostled by anti-government protesters, the Chinese embassy said.
Hong Kong police fired tear gas on Tuesday in the Central financial district, over the harbor in Mong Kok and at universities to break up pro-democracy protests which they said were leading the city to the “brink of total breakdown”. The clashes came a day after police shot a protester at close range and a man was doused with petrol and set on fire in some of the worst violence in the Chinese-ruled city in decades.
Two people are in critical condition after another day of violent demonstrations in Hong Kong. A protester was injured on Monday morning when he was shot at close range by a police officer. He was the third person shot by police since the protests began 24 weeks ago. The territory’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, speaking to reporters on Monday evening, warned protesters they would not succeed in getting their demands.
Chinese-ruled Hong Kong and Taiwan engaged in a rare squabble on Wednesday over a Hong Kong man accused of murder in Taiwan whose case was used by Hong Kong to promote a now-withdrawn extradition bill. Chan Tong-kai was accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend in Taiwan last year before fleeing back to Hong Kong where he was sentenced to 29 months in jail on money-laundering charges.