Joshua Wong, Hong Kong democracy activist, arrested ahead of protests

Hong Kong: Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong has been arrested ahead of another weekend of planned protests in the Chinese-ruled city which is grappling with its biggest political crisis since its handover to Beijing more than two decades ago.

Wong, the face of Hong Kong’s push for full democracy during protests in 2014 that paralysed parts of the city for 79 days, was released from jail in June after serving a five-week term for contempt of court.

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been arrested.Credit:AP

"He was suddenly pushed into a private car on the street," Wong's political party Demosisto, which advocates for greater democracy in Hong Kong, said on its official Twitter account.

"He has now been escorted to the police headquarters in Wan Chai," it said, adding its lawyers were working on the case.

Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pro-democracy activists, from right, Agnes Chow, Joshua Wong and Nathan Law.Credit:AP

Unrest in Hong Kong escalated in mid-June over a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.

It has since evolved into calls for greater democracy under the "One Country, Two Systems" formula, which guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including an independent judiciary.

On Thursday night, another prominent activist, Andy Chan, was detained at Hong Kong airport while trying to board a plane. Chan, who founded a party that advocates for Hong Kong independence, was arrested in August on suspicion of possessing offensive weapons and bombmaking materials.

Hong Kong police have arrested more than 800 people in connection with protests that have rocked the city since June, some of them on harsh riot charges.

Also on Thursday, China brought fresh troops into Hong Kong in what it described as a routine rotation of the garrison.

Chinese state media stressed the troop movement was routine and Asian and Western diplomats watching the People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces in the former British colony had been expecting it.

Chinese soldiers stationed in Hong Kong are not there merely for symbolic purposes and they will have "no reason to sit on their hands" if the situation in the city worsens, an editorial in the China Daily newspaper said on Friday.

Police have refused permission for a pro-democracy march on Saturday, but organisers have appealed against the decision.

The protest would mark five years since Beijing ruled out universal suffrage for Hong Kong and comes as the city faces its first recession in a decade, with all its pillars of growth under stress.

Reuters, Washington Post

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