HONG KONG—Well before police surrounded Jackie Chen, pepper-sprayed her face, and led her away with wrists tied, she was a fixture of Hong Kong’s era of dissent. For weeks, she had cautioned officers at demonstrations to let protesters gather in peace, and give people time and space to disperse safely. The social worker, along with her colleagues, acted as witness, counselor, and referee as angry Hong Kongers and police officers faced off, a portable microphone in her hand throughout.
Hong Kong has seen an unprecedented wave of doxxing – the malicious spread of private information online – since anti-government protests began in early June.
Unrelenting months-long protests finally pushed Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday to withdraw a proposed amendment which would have legalized extradition of suspects to mainland China.
Hong Kong police deployed water cannons for the first time Sunday in a show of force as pro-democracy protests turned violent following nearly two weeks of relative calm.
But Progressive Lawyers Group convenor Billy Li said the concept of adesignated "riot" is legally meaningless. "Anything can be designated a riot where a group of people gather together and act to disturb public order," Lee said. "If it breaches the peace, even if they don't resort to extreme behavior such as throwing bricks or burning tires, as long as there are clashes, this can constitute a 'riot'."