Hong Kong police said a protester was arrested for allegedly trying to incite others to confront officers in an online post, the New York Times reported Sunday. It is the first time an arrest of this sort has been made since the Occupy Central protests began in late September.
The accused man, 23, was arrested Saturday after he provoked others to “join the unlawful assembly in Mong Kok, to charge at police and to paralyze the railways,” a police statement Sunday said.
“I stress, inciting others to commit criminal acts on the Internet is illegal,” police spokesman Hui Chun-tak told reporters, according to the Times. “Police will investigate, gather evidence and take arrest action.”
There has been unrest in Mong Kok for three consecutive nights. At least 20 people were injured as clashes between police and protesters were renewed, the Daily Telegraph reported. Authorities used batons, riot shields and pepper spray to contain demonstrators in Victoria Harbor. Protests continued into a fourth night Sunday.
“It is obvious that the scuffles were not started by the organizers of the Occupy movement or the students at all. There were some triad elements there and for reasons best known to themselves they wanted to create trouble,” Martin Lee, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent democracy activists, told the Daily Telegraph.
From Friday to Saturday, 26 people were arrested while 15 officers and dozens of protesters were injured. Twenty more demonstrators were injured by Sunday morning, the newspaper reported.
Protesters want fully democratic elections in Hong Kong. The movement has apparently become international. Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying has accused "external forces" of getting involved, the BBC reported. Protestors deny the claim. He did not name the countries allegedly backing the movement.
Talks to ease the worst political crisis Hong Kong has seen since Britain gave the city back to China in 1997 are set for Tuesday, but after the recent clashes, it seems unlikely a compromise will be reached. "Unless there is some kind of breakthrough in ... talks on Tuesday, I'm worried we will see the standoff worsen and get violent," Sonny Lo, a professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, told Reuters Sunday.
"We could be entering a new and much more problematic stage. I hope the government has worked out some compromises, because things could get very difficult now."
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