An online video showing a man being arrested by police during the clashes in Mong Kok on the night of Feb. 8 despite following their orders went viral over the weekend, Next Plus magazine reported Sunday.
Wong Sai-kit, 32, who was initially arrested for resisting or obstructing police officers in the execution of their duties, has now been charged with participating in a riot, along with 35 other people.
A Mong Kok resident who works as a chef, Wong said he went to the scene of the conflict early Tuesday only to see what was going on.
The video, taken at Sai Yee Street, opposite the Water Supplies Department, shows Wong being confronted by more than 10 special tactical squad officers, who shout at him to back off.
Wong seems resentful and complains he was scolded by a policewoman and pushed by a police officer with a shield.
The police tactical officers continue to warn Wong to leave the scene.
They are quickly replaced by a line of uniformed police who bear down on Wong.
As he is seen leaving slowly, one of the officers starts a countdown.
The police then chase Wong, surround him and arrest him.
The netizen who took the video said he was initially filming something else at the scene, so he didn’t know the background to what was captured on the video.
Wong, who is on bail, told Ming Pao Daily in a telephone interview he is innocent, as he did not buy anything from street hawkers nor take part in the clashes that night.
He said he was at Argyle Street and about to cross the road when police shouted at him, grabbed his collar and took him to the area in front of the Water Supplies Department.
Wong admitted he felt resentful and talked back to the police.
He told the newspaper he was ready to leave after being warned by the police but was arrested anyway.
Wong said he has no political stance and there was no reason for police to charge him with participating in a riot.
Poon Siu-to, a veteran journalist and Commercial Radio host, commented on his Facebook page that although Wong was seen leaving the scene in accordance with police orders, police still arrested him.
It was uncertain in the first place if he refused to cooperate with the police, Poon said, but it is ridiculous that he has been charged with participating in a riot.
Poon said the police had failed to locate the masterminds behind the clashes and were making innocent citizens scapegoats instead.
He cited the case of four people arrested in Kwai Chung at a recycling center that has now been labeled as a possible weapons warehouse for the Mong Kok clashes by the authorities.
Police refused to rule out a connection between potential weapons found at the recycling center and the protests in Mong Kok, RTHK reported Saturday.
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