Two disqualified Hong Kong legislators arrested

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Two Hong Kong pro-independence legislators barred from taking their positions by Beijing have been arrested for unlawful assembly, according to a statement posted to Facebook.

Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung, both members of political party Youngspiration, were arrested at 0.700 on Wednesday morning for alleged unlawful assembly, according to a statement on Ms Yau’s Facebook page. A former assistant had also been taken to a police station, the notice said.

The arrests come after nine organisers of the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy movement were charged for their role in the protests just one day after the city’s newly elected leader, Carrie Lam, promised to “heal the divide” between the semi-autonomous territory and Beijing.

Ms Yau and Mr Leung were elected last year amid growing support for “localist” candidates calling for self-determination or even independence for Hong Kong.

The pair were banned by Beijing from serving on the territory’s council after they altered the words in the standard oath of office instead pledging allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation”.

Ms Yau and Mr Leung first took their oaths during the swearing-in ceremony for Hong Kong’s legislative council in October holding banners that read “Hong Kong is not China” and were asked to reswear their oaths by the president of the legislature. They were effectively barred from retaking their oaths when during a latter session pro-Beijing lawmakers walked out and the city’s government launched a judicial review to prevent Mr Leung and Ms Yau from retaking their oaths.

In November the pair forced their way into the chamber of the legislature to read their oaths again, but the oaths were rejected by the president.

Hong Kong police did not comment. Mr Leung could not be reached by telephone.

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