Four more Chinese University students have been arrested over the past two days for their suspected involvement in an incident in which a black-clad group threw an unknown white powder at campus security guards, bringing the total number of people caught over the case to five.
In a statement on Monday, police confirmed that three men aged 19 to 22 were arrested that evening in Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan and Sheung Shui on suspicion of unlawful assembly, and assault with intent to cause certain acts to be done or committed. They were taken back to the university campus where their residences were searched.
Police said a 22-year-old man surrendered at Tsuen Wan Police Station at about 6.30pm on Tuesday before he was arrested for the same alleged offences.
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Before Tuesday’s arrest, Superintendent Chen Chi-cheong, from the New Territories South regional headquarters, said the trio arrested on Monday were believed to have launched the attack to challenge a university policy requiring security guards to perform identity checks at campus entrances.
“The Chinese University of Hong Kong is not a place beyond the law. We will not tolerate anyone to make use of the special environment of the school to cover their illegal activities,” Chan said, adding that officers would resolutely enforce the law.
On January 11, at least seven perpetrators, dressed in black and masked, charged the security barrier at the guard post near University MTR station in Sha Tin.
The gang knocked down railings and threw an unknown white powder at guards before fleeing in different directions.
Staff caught one of the suspects after a brief chase, while the others got away. The 20-year old was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour in a public place and assault. No student card was found on him.
The incident left one of the guards feeling unwell after coming into contact with the powder. He was sent to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin for treatment.
Police said the fifth man arrested had allegedly tried to damage the railings and thrown the powder.
The students in the latest arrests attend S.H. Ho College, Lee Woo Sing College and Wu Yee Sun College at the university. Former student union president and current president of its provisional executive committee, Owen Au Cheuk-hei, was one of those detained, according to the student group.
Police had previously said they were still searching for a fifth suspect, also from Chinese University, and any other perpetrators connected with the case, warning those harbouring them of the prosecution risks.
Chan refused to confirm the identity of those arrested, but said they included members of the student union. He said officers seized clothes, phones and computers during the operation, and did not rule out similar raids in the future.
The superintendent condemned the suspects for what he called “despicable”, triad-style bullying and violence against security guards.
“After the incident, related student groups played down this apparent crime and presented it as a clash between students and security guards, to draw a line with the rioters,” Chan added.
In video shown online on Monday, Au, a fourth-year student, was seen handcuffed from behind and being escorted to the S.H. Ho College by several officers at about 9pm. Officers were also seen standing in a corridor at a student dormitory at Wu Yee Sun College.
Au’s fellow committee member, Anson Yip Tsz-huen, said Au was arrested when he reported for an unlawful assembly case stemming from 2019 at Sha Tin Police Station on Monday afternoon and was then taken back to campus.
The union said it would try to seek legal help for the three students.
A university spokesman confirmed on Monday police had entered the campus with search warrants from a court to collect evidence in connection with an incident on January 11. He confirmed students had been arrested but would not comment on the case.
In a statement on Monday, the student union expressed regret over the arrests, and repeated its frustration with the university for not handling what it said were issues relating to the security department.
This article Hong Kong protests: four more students arrested over attack on security guards at Chinese University first appeared on South China Morning Post