Former Hong Kong lawmakers who disrupted session arrested

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FILE - In this May 8, 2020, file photo, then pan-democratic legislator Ray Chan is taken away by security guards during a Legislative Council's House Committee meeting in Hong Kong. Hong Kong police arrested three former opposition lawmakers, Chan, Ted Hui and Eddie Chu, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 for disrupting legislative meetings several months ago, as concerns grow over a crackdown on the citys pro-democracy camp. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong police arrested three former opposition lawmakers on Wednesday for disrupting legislative meetings several months ago, adding to concerns about a crackdown on the city’s pro-democracy camp.

Posts on the Facebook accounts of Ted Hui, Eddie Chu and Raymond Chan said they had been arrested over the incidents in the legislature's main chamber. The three separately disrupted meetings by splashing pungent liquids and other items in May and June.

A Hong Kong police statement said they arrested three former lawmakers on suspicion of contempt in the legislature and intent to cause harm to others. The statement did not identify them by name.

Pro-democracy lawmakers and activists have accused the Hong Kong government and the central Chinese government in Beijing of tightening control over the semi-autonomous territory in response to demands for more democracy. They say authorities are destroying the autonomy promised to the city, a global financial center with greater freedoms than mainland China.

The three former lawmakers disrupted meetings debating a now-approved ordinance that criminalizes any insult to or abuse of the Chinese national anthem, the “March of the Volunteers.”

On May 28, Hui rushed to the front of the legislature, dropping a rotten plant and attempting to kick it at the body's president. Chu splashed a bottle of liquid in the legislature.

One week later, Chan attempted to approach the front of the chamber with a pot of pungent liquid hidden in a paper lantern, but dropped it after he was stopped by security guards. On the same day, Hui splashed some liquid at the front of the legislature and was escorted out.

Emergency services were called to the venue, and several pro-Beijing lawmakers reported feeling unwell.