Hong Kong authorities have started the process of prosecuting participants of the nearly three-month long street occupations Monday by calling more than 30 key protesters to report to the police.
Leaders of student and civil society groups, as well as pan-democratic lawmakers, were asked to go to Hong Kong police headquarters in Wan Chai by Jan. 17 to assist in an “unlawful assembly case,” a police source told South China Morning Post (SCMP). If they fail to show up, police will make home arrests.
Labour Party legislator Lee Cheuk-yan and Civic Party leader Alan Leong also received calls from the police. According to public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong, Lee says he won’t admit to inciting others to partake in the Occupy movement, while Leong says the onus lies with the authorities’ to prove that protesters were completely in the wrong. SCMP reports that police have gathered enough evidence against the protesters.
Hong Kong Federation of Students secretary general Alex Chow, as well as Occupy Central with Love and Peace co-founders, academics Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man, and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, are other notables that have received police orders, Hong Kong publications Apple Daily and SCMP report.
Police seem to have targeted the big names in their first phase of prosecution, which is consistent with an earlier statement by police commissioner Andy Tsang.
After the clearing of the last Occupy site in Causeway Bay on Dec. 15, 2014, Tsang said that police aim to complete investigations of the 79-day long street occupation in three months, and that “principle instigators” will be brought in first.
However, 18-year-old Joshua Wong, the most prominent face of the Occupy protests, appears to have been left out in this phase of police operations.
In a Facebook post Monday, Wong, a shortlisted candidate for Time magazine’s 2014 “Person of Year” award, said police have yet to contact him.