Hong Kong’s Occupy Central founders surrender to police

Hong Kong's Occupy Central founders surrender to police

The three founders of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement have turned themselves in to police over their role in pro-democracy demonstrations.

Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming said they wanted to take responsibility for protests deemed illegal by authorities.

But after a brief meeting they left without being arrested or charged.

Protesters have been demonstrating for two months over Beijing’s restrictions on Hong Kong’s election process.

The BBC’s John Sudworth in Hong Kong says the surrender was a symbolic gesture and a way for them to show that the illegal actions they have engaged in was for a wider purpose and that they have nothing to hide.

The three men walked into the Central Police Station to turn themselves in together with Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, who has supported the protests.

They left less than an hour later, saying they were being released without charge.

 Anti-Occupy protesters showed up at the police station with placards depicting Occupy leaders in prison uniforms

Mr Tai told the BBC that police officers gave each of them a form. They were asked to provide their personal details and tick against a list of offences. The men ticked the box for “illegal assembly”.

Officers had told them that because they had not been arrested, the police could only collect information from them and would “invite them back to the police station at an appropriate time”, said Mr Tai.

Some supporters followed suit. Police said a total of 24 people surrendered and officers told them to immediately stop illegal occupation of public places.

‘Arrest them’

As they arrived, the Occupy founders were met by a large gathering of supporters outside the police station, who shouted: “I want true democracy!” as they walked in.

Anti-Occupy groups also showed up, greeting the men with jeers and shouts of: “Arrest them!”

Occupy Central founder Benny Tai: “To surrender is not an act of cowardice”

Earlier, Benny Tai told a radio show that he had no regrets, saying: “In hindsight, I would still do the same thing.”

He also told the BBC he was facing more than 30 legal cases from businesses or individuals alleging disruption by the protests.

Occupy Central led the street protests when they began in September, but has since receded as student groups have become more prominent.

The protesters want China to scrap its plan to screen candidates for the territory’s 2017 leadership election, and want the Hong Kong government to renegotiate the political arrangement with Beijing.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-30305473

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