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Hong Kong police arrest at least 14 veteran pro-democracy lawmakers

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, center, who founded local newspaper Apple Daily, is arrested by police officers at his home in Hong Kong, Saturday, April 18, 2020
Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, center, who founded local newspaper Apple Daily, is arrested by police officers at his home in Hong Kong, Saturday, April 18, 2020   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Vincent Yu
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Hong Kong police have arrested at least 14 pro-democracy lawmakers, activists and a media tycoon over charges of joining unlawful protests last year calling for reforms

Among those arrested were 81-year-old activist and former lawmaker Martin Lee and democracy advocates Albert Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan and Au Nok-hin.

Police also arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who founded the local newspaper Apple Daily.

Lai, Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum, a former lawmaker from the Democratic Party, were charged in February over their involvement in a mass anti-government demonstration on August 31 last year.

The protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory against proposed extradition legislation exposed deep divisions between Hong Kongers and the Communist Party-ruled central government in Beijing.

The bill, which would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China to stand trial was withdrawn in September, but the protests continued for more than seven months, centred around demands for voting rights and an independent inquiry into police conduct.

While the protests began peacefully, they increasingly descended into violence after demonstrators became frustrated with the government's response.

They feel that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has ignored their demands and used the police to suppress them.