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Most of Korean Protesters Released in Hong Kong

Posted December. 20, 2005 08:23,   


Most of the Koreans hauled off by the police in Hong Kong while waging an anti-globalization rally during the World Trade Organization Ministerial Meeting have been released, but 12 protesters were still being investigated as of 6:00 p.m. Monday.

Some of them may be arrested.

The Hong Kong police said it hauled off a total of 1,149 protesters on Sunday, 1,001 of whom are Korean: 851 men, and 150 women.

All the women and a 12-year-old boy were released early Monday morning, followed by another 838 protesters later that day, starting from 6:00 p.m.

The remaining 12 are under investigation on whether to be charged or not.

The Hong Kong court is set to begin the “primary trial (preliminary hearings)” no later than Tuesday to decide whether to arrest the 12 men currently in custody.

“Destroying public facility and attacking the police are not righteous means,” Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang said Monday.

If found to be responsible for felonies such as assaulting police officers, the protesters will receive a secondary trial within two or three months.

Even if the protesters go to a secondary trial, they could be out on bail while going through the legal procedures, the Consulate of Korea in Hong Kong expects.

Sixty-one Korean women released from a court on Monday staged a rally for an hour in front of the court, claiming that the police officers slapped them and did not allow them to go to the restroom while they were being hauled away.

The Hong Kong police plan to initiate an official investigation by an internal inspection team over the alleged human rights violations.

Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Kyu-hyung arrived in Hong Kong Monday. He met with Ambrose Lee, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security (equivalent to Korea’s Minister of Justice) and asked for leniency.

Eun-Woo Lee libra@donga.com