Thirty-seven people have been charged with rioting in connection with Monday’s unrest in Mong Kok and are set to appear at Kowloon City Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning.
Violent clashes between police and protesters angered over the government’s clearing of street hawkers broke out on Monday night.
As of Thursday, 64 have been arrested. Among them, 34 men and three women aged between 15 to 70 were each charged with one count of rioting.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. It was reportedly last used in 2000 against rioting inmates at a drug addiction centre in Hei Ling Chau.
Of the other arrested people who were not appearing in court on Thursday, 13 men and four women aged between 14 and 33 were released on bail; eight men and two women aged between 21 and 55 remain in detention.
The police made 24 arrests at the scene of the protest early Tuesday and subsequently made another 37 arrested later on Tuesday. Three more followed on Wednesday.
Many were university students, including three from the University of Hong Kong.
The student union of the university said that the three students were searched at a police station. In a statement on Facebook, they claim the trio were stripped naked and kicked in the back – acts that may have violated police internal rules.
Members of some political groups were also arrested.
The localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, which called upon the public to descend upon Mong Kok to support the protesters, said on social media that 20 of its members were arrested. A member of Youngspiration, and administrators of several Facebook pages covering political news and protests were also arrested, among others.
One notable arrestee was Edward Leung Tin-kei, a University of Hong Kong student and a member of Hong Kong Indigenous, who was arrested on the frontlines when the clashes began on Monday night. He is also running as a candidate in the Legislative Council by-election at the end of this month.
Derek Lam Shun-hin of student activist group Scholarism was also arrested for alleged involvement in rioting, but the student group’s convenor Joshua Wong Chi-fung had said that Lam did not provoke or attack the police. The police have searched Lam’s home, having previously been prevented from doing so as they lacked a warrant.
Around 130 people were injured during the protest. The majority of them have now been discharged from hospitals.
While localist groups support democracy, they are better known for their anti-communist stance and close association with movements promoting the expansion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and independence.
Update 12:37pm: An earlier version of this article stated that 38 people have been charged with rioting. The number of people charged was 37.