Update as of 4:10 a.m. EST: The three founders of the Occupy Central movement turned themselves over to the police, a day after urging protesters to withdraw. However, they were allowed to leave after a brief meeting with the police without being charged, according to media reports. Cardinal Joseph Zen, who served as the sixth Bishop of Hong Kong and supported the pro-democracy movement, also surrendered to the police on Wednesday.
The move by the four leaders to surrender was greeted by protests from student demonstrators who have vowed to continue to demand full democracy from the Hong Kong government. At the same time, those against the Occupy movement also demonstrated near the police station, protesting authorities' decision not to arrest or charge the leaders.
Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters defied calls by leaders of the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong to vacate the streets and vowed to continue the demonstrations, according to media reports. Two days after violent clashes between protesters and security forces left many injured, the co-founders of the movement had said they would surrender to the police on Wednesday afternoon.
“I think that announcement was quite nonsense (sic) because as I said, we have been through a lot, and I don't think that we should pack up our things and leave now,” Lorraine Lam, an 18-year-old student protester -- one of the hundreds who remained ensconced at a major protest site in Admiralty -- told Reuters on Wednesday. Admiralty, next to Hong Kong's Central business district, is the largest remaining protest site.
Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong media tycoon who has come out in support of the pro-democracy movement, also urged the students to retreat, according to media reports.
“If [the protest] keeps dragging on, it will wear down their willpower, which is exactly what Beijing wants,” Lai reportedly said. He had, on Tuesday, said that he would wait for the protesters to disperse before surrendering, according to a report by South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Meanwhile, Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming -- the three co-founders of Occupy Central -- have been asked to report to the police by Wednesday afternoon, SCMP reported, adding that they could be charged with organizing and conducting assemblies that the authorities have declared illegal.