A prominent Hong Kong democracy activist was reportedly detained in Thailand at the request of Chinese authorities before being sent back on a plane to Hong Kong.
Joshua Wong, a 19 year-old student who gained notoriety for his role in Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy “umbrella movement,” was detained upon arrival at a Bangkok airport Tuesday and later placed on a return-flight to Hong Kong.
Wong was travelling to Bangkok to speak about his campaign for democracy at a city college, according to a post on the Facebook page belonging to his political party, Demosisto.
A Thai student activist named Netiwit Chotipatpaisal, who had been due to meet Wong at the airport, told AFP he heard from police that the Chinese government sent a letter to the Thai government asking for Wong’s detainment.
An airport immigration official confirmed only that there had been an “order” to detain Wong, but refused to say where it came from.
China’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying it respected Thailand’s authority to stop people from entering the country “in accordance with the law,” but didn’t indicate whether the request had come from Beijing.
Wong was set to speak to students at Chulalongkorn University during a commemoration event for the 40th anniversary of a massacre of pro-democracy students by security forces.
Wong was expected to discuss his involvement in the umbrella movement, which started in 2014 as a grass-roots resistance to Chinese police and Communist Party political rule.