Hong Kong police have arrested 22 people for offenses linked to the storming of parliament, protest clashes and cybercrimes targeting law enforcement officers.
Twelve people aged from 14 to 36 were charged in relation to clashes around the Legislative Council building on Monday and Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai on Saturday.
Another nine have been arrested for allegedly publishing private information about police officers on the Internet during the anti-extradition bill protests.
There were dramatic scenes around the LegCo building late on July 1 – the 22nd anniversary of the handover of the British colony to China. Thousands of protesters responded to a call to besiege the LegCo building and the protest turned violent when dozens of demonstrators broke a glass wall while another group changed the national flag in Bauhinia Square. Later, a mob of protesters broke into and ransacked the LegCo building after police vacated the building.
The 11 men and one woman arrested face charges for alleged possession of offensive weapons, illegal assembly, attacking and obstructing police, violation of the Air Navigation (Hong Kong) Order 1995 and failing to provide an identification document.
On Wednesday morning, a 31-year-old man surnamed Poon was arrested in Mong Kok in Kowloon for allegedly storming the LegCo on Monday night and taking part in a protest at the police headquarters in Wanchai nearly two weeks ago. Poon, who is said to have been an activist since the Occupy Movement in 2014, has been accused of forcible entry into LegCo, misconduct in public, criminal damage and assaulting police.
Police said they also arrested five men and one woman, aged from 20 to 72, during a pro-police rally held in Tamar Park in Admiralty last Saturday. The six were held for allegedly possessing offensive weapons, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and fighting in a public area.
Media reports and video footage showed that a scuffle broke out between police supporters and protesters opposed to the extradition bill amendment. Victims included a lawmaker, journalists and young people who were walking by the park who were apparently attacked because they were wearing black shirts and facemasks.
Over 800 police complain
Meanwhile, the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau has arrested seven men and two women, aged from 16 to 40, for allegedly accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent and criminal damage, after more than 800 police officers filed complaints through a police hotline to say that their personal information had been posted online.
Police say this practice, known as ‘doxing’, appeared to have been done with malicious intent.
Superintendent Swalikh Mohammed of the Technology Crime Division said during a press briefing on Wednesday that the full Chinese and English names, identity card numbers and addresses of some police officers and their family members had been posted online without consent.
“The doxing and the threats that the officers face include constant nuisance calls, someone sending messages threatening them, telling them they will die immediately,” he said.
“Not just the officers themselves but their families have also received similar messages, people visiting the family members who are conducting their daily work, trying to threaten them,” Mohammed said.
One of the suspects was arrested for criminal damage – for allegedly trying to launch a cyber attack, known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), on the police force’s website, although it was unsuccessful.
Mohammed said 150 complaints were made to the Privacy Commissioner after the details of police officers were posted online last month. He warned that more arrests would be made.
‘Revenge for June 12’
Campaigners targeted police after they were accused of using “excessive policing” such as tear gas and rubber bullets during clashes outside LegCo on June 12.
Two suspects have also been accused of setting up a website to disclose police officers’ personal details, plus publishing information about using Molotov cocktails, attacking police vehicles or police stations on an online forum and via Telegram, Ming Pao Daily reported sources as saying.
One of the suspects told Apple Daily that he posted information on LIHKG, the local Reddit-like forum, where he posted articles about methods used by protesters overseas, including the use of Molotov cocktails. He emphasized that he did not encourage other people to do that, but just wanted to point out the difference between methods used by Hong Kong protesters and others overseas.
Meanwhile, another team from the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, the police Tactical Unit and Identification Bureau continued to collect evidence at the LegCo building on Wednesday. Police showed bricks, steel bars and hand-made shields made from road signs or cardboard that were seized in the protest.
Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, a pro-Beijing figure and former Legislative Council president, condemned the violence and called for the government to look into the root causes of the protest, saying it may stem from the lack of political reform.
Tsang said in an interview with local broadcaster NowTV that simply blaming foreign interference would not solve the problem. He suggested that city Chief Executive Carrie Lam should grant an amnesty to people arrested during the protests after their cases go through the legal process.