Avery Ng Man-yuen, chairman of the pro-democracy League of Social Democrats party, has been arrested on suspicion of violating traffic laws after unfurling a protest banner calling for “an end to Chinese Communist one-party rule”. The stunt coincided with the arrival of Zhang Dejiang to Hong Kong on Tuesday. Zhang is the no. 3 official of China’s Politburo and is also in charge of Hong Kong affairs. He will be in the city until Thursday.
Despite unprecedented security precautions, the banner was hung from a bridge currently under construction on the North Lantau Highway, a road which Zhang was due to pass during his journey from the airport.
Along with Ng, the League of Social Democrats’ Vice-Chairman Derek Chan Tak-cheung, Vice-Secretary Derek Chau, and member Ma wan-ki were arrested.
Ng began live-streaming video on Facebook as he was standing below the construction site with the group. “Zhang Dejiang should stop being a coward and should go back to Beijing,” he said as he was escorted to a police car.
Commenting on the reason for his arrest, Chan said that he had “never heard of” such a violation.
Ng continued filming for a short time after he was ordered by the police to stop using his phone.
Meanwhile, another three members of the League of Social Democrats, including Vice-Chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming and members Sze Ching-wee and Chow Kim-ho, were arrested after displaying banners saying “Universal suffrage in the whole of China” and “Retract the August 31 decision” on a hill around the Tsing Ma bridge, where Zhang’s car passed.
The banners were removed before Zhang’s car arrived.
Dejiang is in the territory at the invitation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to attend a summit on the Belt and Road Initiative, to be held on Wednesday.
Water barriers and metal barriers, 6,000 police officers, as well as luggage scanning machines, have been deployed around the Wan Chai area, where Zhang will stay during his three-day visit.