HONG KONG – Three prominent Hong Kong democracy activists have been arrested ahead of a major anti-government demonstration scheduled for the weekend.
Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow were separately arrested early Friday morning by police, according to their political party, Demosisto.
Wong is the secretary-general of Demosisto, which advocates for self-determination for Hong Kong. Chow is also a prominent member.
The group did not provide further information but said they had been taken to police headquarters in Wan Chai district.
The duo’s arrest followed that of Andy Chan, the leader of the banned pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, at Hong Kong International Airport on Thursday night.
Hong Kong police said in a statement that Chan had been charged with rioting and attacking a police officer and was still in detention.
They did not disclose further information on Wong or Chow’s arrest when contacted by dpa.
While prominent figureheads in Hong Kong’s democracy political groups, it was unclear if the arrests of the three were part of a wider crackdown on protest leaders.
The three have not played a central role in organizing this year’s protests, which unlike past political movements have relied on crowd-sourced decisions made over social media.
The trio, however, are three of Hong Kong’s best-known activists abroad.
Chan was previously arrested alongside other protesters for possession of offensive weapons after police raided a flat containing petrol bombs, according to Hong Kong Free Press.
Wong has also been in and out of prison for his role in leading 2014’s democracy movement protests.
He was most recently released in July after serving a two-month prison sentence for contempt of court for failing to clear a protest site in 2014.
Chow is best known for her disqualification from running for office in January 2018 when Hong Kong’s elections office found she had supported pro-independence views.
The city’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has previously said that holding views calling for the city’s independence from China is illegal.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents are expected to march to China’s Liaison Office, even after police failed to approve the demonstration this week.
The protest continues months of political unrest in Hong Kong, which began June 9 against a controversial legislative bill that would have allowed for Hong Kong criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China.
Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous city with special rights and privileges until 2047.