Pinoy arrested during HK protest 'in high spirits' after posting bail

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2019 01:14 PM | Updated as of Aug 06 2019 01:59 PM

Protesters react after tear gas was fired by the police during a demonstration in support of the city-wide strike and to call for democratic reforms at Tai Po residential area in Hong Kong, China, August 5, 2019. Tyrone Siu, Reuters

MANILA - A Filipino arrested for alleged participation in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong is "in high spirits" after he posted bail and was released from detention, an official said Tuesday.

He was arrested Saturday for wearing a black shirt like that worn by thousands of protesters who clashed with riot police across China's special administrative region, said Germinia Aguilar-Usudan, deputy Philippine consul general in Hong Kong.

The Filipino has returned to work after paying a bail of HKD 2,000 or roughly P14,000, she said.

"He's in high spirits and he's also doing well physically," the official told in ANC.

"The investigation was still ongoing. In a few days, we will know if he will be permanently released or there will be a charge filed," she added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has warned Filipinos in Hong Kong to stay away from protest areas and refrain from wearing or carry anything that could mistakenly identify them as part of the demonstrations.

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Activists on Monday disrupted vital rush-hour commuter train service, held multiple rallies, besieged police stations and launched projectiles at the legislature, while the general strike affected dozens of flights at one of the world's busiest airports.

Police fired tear gas in at least 11 areas across the city, battling to disperse crowds of demonstrators in the most widespread unrest seen during the 2 months of increasingly violent protests.

Businesses and government offices reopened on Tuesday, said Usudan, adding that, "Everything is back to normal."

"I don't see any permanent threat to the lives of Filipinos here in Hong Kong," she added.

Hong Kong is home to 230,000 Filipinos, most of whom are domestic workers, the Philippine Consulate earlier said.

The demonstrations were triggered by opposition to a planned law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but have evolved into a wider movement for democratic reform and a halt to eroding freedoms.

In a briefing that highlighted the longevity of the protests, police said they had fired more than 1,000 rounds of tear gas and 160 rubber bullets since rallies began on June 9, with 420 people arrested and 139 officers injured so far.

In a rare public appearance since the crisis began, chief executive Carrie Lam warned protesters she would not cave to their demands.

"(They) have seriously undermined Hong Kong's law and order and are pushing our city, the city that we all love and many of us helped to build, to the verge of a very dangerous situation," Lam said.

She later referred to chants by protesters for a "revolution", describing this as a challenge to the "one country, 2 systems" framework under which Hong Kong has been ruled since it returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

"I dare say they are trying to destroy Hong Kong," said Lam, who was appointed by a pro-Beijing committee.

Dozens of protesters have been charged with rioting, which carries a jail term of 10 years. With a report from Agence France-Presse