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15 arrested over assemblies broke public security law

By Joseph Li in Hong Kong | | Updated: 2020-04-23 10:42
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Law professor Albert Chen Hung-yee says the 15 public figures arrested on Saturday on suspicion of organizing or participating in unauthorized assemblies last year have definitely broken Hong Kong's public security law.

Among those arrested were former Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming and Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, owner of the Apple Daily newspaper, who is believed to be key financer and mastermind of the opposition camp.

Penalties for unauthorized assembly offenses were generally not severe, Chen adds.

People were seldom prosecuted for the offense of taking part in unauthorized assemblies, the professor says. Numerous unauthorized assemblies take place every year, and each is attended by several thousand people, Chen notes.

After being released on bail, Lee, a senior counsel in Hong Kong, said he felt relaxed and was very proud to pursue "democracy" with the city's young people.

Many people in the legal sector were very unhappy with Lee's comments, according to legislator and barrister Priscilla Leung Mei-fun.

Police Commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung expressed concern that someone with such a high standing in the legal profession could make such comments.

Without naming Lee, the police chief said this person should be encouraging young people to obey the law. Instead of feeling proud, he should be ashamed, Tang said.

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