Eighteen people arrested after a July 1 sit-in protest in Hong Kong’s Central district have been released from police custody unconditionally after they refused to renew bail, RTHK reported Thursday.
They included Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, two Democratic Party councilors and six students. They challenged the government to prosecute them or release them unconditionally after refusing to extend bail.
Alex Chow, secretary general of the Federation of Students, said police lacked sufficient evidence to file formal charges.
And Johnson Yeung, convenor of Civil Human Rights Front, said the decision not to renew bail was made to prevent police from using a system which requires bailed persons to report to a police station regularly each month.
“We could not put up with that,” Yeung said.
The police could take advantage of the system to prolong the process for up to two years and prevent the protesters from taking part in any mass action.
The 18 were among 500 arrested by the police after an overnight vigil in Chater Road following the July 1 march.
Twenty-five were released on bail, mostly lawmakers and student representatives.
Their profiles were consistent with claims the police targeted specific groups, Yeung was quoted as saying.
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