Mother finds arrest of son with sticker of protest slogan "unacceptable"

At least 10 were arrested on Wednesday, the day when Hong Kong marked the 23rd anniversary of its handover to China, under the new national security law for the city that took effect at 11pm on Tuesday.

Sha Tin district councilor Mike Chan Pui-ming and lawyer Janet Pang told The Stand News that nine of the arrestees were taken to Ma On Shan Police Station later on the day. Among those arrested is a 19-year-old man who was found to have his mobile phone affixed with a sticker that reads "Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our time" and carry a bag containing activist stickers, when he was intercepted by the police, according to the suspect's family. The young man was arrested on suspicion of subverting state power under Hong Kong's national security law.

The young man's parents rushed to the police station, hoping to bring food to their child, after they were informed of their son's arrest. But their hope was dashed by the police, who said they would offer food to arrestees. The mother, identified as Mrs Y, expressed grave concern to what she called a well-behaved son, slamming the accusation of him subverting state power as being outrageous.

"A boy merely attached [a sticker bearing the slogan] on his mobile phone and carried a few stickers in his bag. And he was accused of subverting state power?" she said.

The mother denied his son's wrongdoing, calling the arrest "unacceptable". She said the absurdity involved with the arrest would only become a laughing stock to the world. She believed it would be too ludicrous if his son was kept behind bars.

"No bail shall be granted to a criminal suspect or defendant unless the judge has sufficient grounds for believing that the criminal suspect or defendant will not continue to commit acts endangering national security," Article 42 of Hong Kong's national security law stipulated.

Mr and Mrs Y cited their son's lawyers as saying they were unsure about when their son could be released on bail, as the city's national security law is a new piece of legislation. The wide scope of the coverage of the sweeping law was unknown, Mr Y said.

The father said his sole concern is whether the administration would use the new law to mete out stern punishment to warn others.

According to a lawyer who met with the young suspect, he looked calm. His parents handed a jacket to him by asking a favour from the police. The anxious parents had nothing to do but wait for his return upon potential release on bail.

Families of the arrestees, lawyers, social workers and district councillors gathered outside Ma On Shan Police Station on Wednesday night.

According to Pang, the police's procedures on handling the arrestees were similar to what they had been doing and that the arrestees could meet with their lawyers. Pang added there had been many uncertainties given that the national security law is a new piece of legislation.