A man arrested over an alleged plot to use a drone to disrupt a state leader’s Hong Kong visit was asked to buy the device by veteran local activist “Bull” Tsang Kin-shing. According to Tsang, the man used different names, so he did not recognise his name on the arrest report.
Through the official Xinhua news agency, Shenzhen police said on Sunday that they had arrested five people, two from Hong Kong and three from the mainland, who were allegedly involved in selling 815 Hong Kong permanent identity cards.
One of the Hongkongers, identified as a 56-year-old man Kwok X-cheong, was said to be a long-term sponsor of Hong Kong opposition activists, as one activist called Tsang X-shing asked him to buy a drone in Shenzhen in an attempt to cause a nuisance during mainland officials’ visit in Hong Kong.
The report said Kwok had a criminal record in Hong Kong for holding fake identity cards and fraud.
Tsang first told media reporters that he was not involved in the case. He later said he did not realise Kwok X-cheong was the Kwok he knew – using the name Kwok Tin-loy – until the incident was widely reported.
He later confirmed he did ask some friends, including Kwok, to buy a drone for protests, although not specifically for Zhang Dejiang’s visit this week. Tsang said he wanted to keep the purchase secret, so he denied the relationship at first.
Tsang said that he met Kwok at a function organized by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China in 1989 and that they met again in 2014 during the pro-democracy Occupy protests.
Tsang added that Kwok donated several thousand Hong Kong dollars to his district office early this year for its operations.
“The Chinese authorities were seemingly linking Kwok’s alleged crimes with helping to purchase the drone… I apologise for the misunderstanding caused,” Tsang said in a statement.
Kwok Wah-cheong, originally named Kwok Tin-loy, ran for a district council seat in 1994 but failed. He was jailed for two years in 2000 for an insurance scam.
He then changed his name, but was again sentenced to four years and three months jail in 2007 for a scam involving making fraudulent insurance claims.
The news came as police said they would take action against anything suspicious, including drones, inside a security zone during Zhang’s visit. Protesters and reporters would not be allowed to use drones near the area.