Hong Kong: More than 30 key figures of the months-long civil disobedience movement that began in September have been contacted by the police on charges of instigating the protests and could end up being detained.
Quoting police sources, the South Chine Morning Post Tuesday said the activists could be arrested for organising or aiding and abetting the unlawful tent camps set up throughout the city for almost three months which were finally dismantled by the police.
Among those targeted by the police so far are student leaders Alex Chow and Joshua Wong, the main representatives of the students who spearheaded the protests, and who were arrested during the dismantling of the tent camps.
Also on the list are the three main leaders of Occupy Central, the movement that triggered the unprecendented demonstrations demanding greater democratic rights in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China.
There are Rev. Chu Yiu-ming, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, and Chan Kin-man who voluntarily surrendered to the police Dec 3 to face the legal consequences of having launched the civil disobedience campaign.
They were released an hour after their arrest.
Several Hong Kong lawmakers from liberal parties could also be arrested, as could media tycoon Jimmy Lai, owner and ex-editor-in-chief of the Apple Daily who was arrested Dec 11 for refusing to voluntarily leave one of the protest settlements.
Lai was released the following day when he resigned from his post as editor of the daily.
According to the South China Morning Post, all these people have been asked to report to police stations where they will be placed under arrest and allowed to apply for bail.
Those who do not comply with the police orders could face immediate detention.
Meanwhile, the police would be working on a second list of activists who could be summoned for collaborating in the investigation and who could also face arrest.
The investigation was announced by a senior police official hours after the last protest settlement was dismantled Dec 15.
He said that the main instigators of the movement would be arrested later and cited a three-month period to carry out the investigations.
This police action comes at a time when the debate on electoral reform in Hong Kong, the driving force of the protests, is being reopened.
On Wednesday, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam will present proposals on the methods of electing candidates in the 2017 chief executive elections.
These proposals will not give power to the voters to veto future candidates, who will be pre-selected by a Chinese committee, only to decide how the committee should choose them.