Hong Kong arrests 2 disqualified lawmakers over oath fracas


HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested two pro-independence lawmakers who were disqualified in a dispute over their oaths, in the latest round of legal action against activists involved in the Chinese territory’s pro-democracy movement.

Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching of the Youngspiration party were arrested and questioned at a police station for several hours before being released on bail.

They told reporters they were charged with unlawful assembly and attempted forcible entry and must report to court on Friday.

The two young activists angered Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government when they used their swearing-in ceremony in October to stage an apparent protest by inserting anti-China insults into their oaths.

Their attempts to enter the legislature during subsequent sessions to take their oaths properly descended into chaos when they were barred from the chamber and later disqualified from office by a court ruling.

Leung said the charges relate to events on Nov. 2. On that day, they scuffled with guards as they barged into the chamber, leaving the council session in disarray.

The Hong Kong government is pursuing cases against a number of other activists.

Last month police arrested and charged nine people, including university professors, former student leaders and lawmakers, on public nuisance charges for their involvement in the “Umbrella Movement” protests. The 79-day movement ended more than two years ago after protesters failed to win concessions from the government over electoral curbs.

The government is also trying to disqualify four other pro-democracy lawmakers who it says took their oaths improperly.