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Hong Kong Opposition Politician Charged Over Online Posting

Indonesian journalist Veby Mega, center, injured in the eye by what was believed to be a police-fired projectile, is being attended by others, during potests in Hong Kong, Sept. 29, 2019.

An opposition politician in Hong Kong has been arrested over an online post criticizing a policeman who blinded a journalist in one eye during anti-government protests last year, local media said.

Cheng Lai-king was released early Thursday afternoon after being formally charged with sedition earlier in the day, public broadcaster RTHK said.

Messages to the city government spokesman’s office asking for information were not immediately returned.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper said the 61-year-old local district councilor’s arrest came a day after she shared a Facebook post that identified by name and badge number the policeman who was believed to have fired the rubber bullet that blinded Indonesian journalist Veby Mega in one eye.

Superintendent Swalikh Mohammed, of the police cybersecurity and technology crime bureau, was quoted as saying that a woman in her 60s was arrested on suspicion of seditious acts. He said the case related to online posts that contained personal information about an officer and his family.

The paper said Cheng’s post urged the officer to turn himself in if he still had a conscience.

Following the months-long protests that saw frequent violent clashes between police and demonstrators, prosecutors have been handing down indictments for crimes including rioting and possession of offensive weapons.

Sedition is a charge that dates from the British colonial era before Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese rule in 1997 and has rarely been used since the territory was rocked by anti-British riots in 1967.