Thailand joins Malaysia in denying democracy activist entry
On Wednesday afternoon Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was met by the friends and colleagues at the International Airport upon returning from Thailand.
“I’m grateful now that I’m back in Hong Kong & fortunate I didn’t meet the same fate of Causeway Bay booksellers, who disappeared”, Joshua Wong said during the ad hoc press conference.
“I was met with more than 20 police and airport officers as I left the plane, with my passport confiscated and then detained”, he said. He added that 10 hours in the Thai detention center were “really scary”.
Thailand stopped Mr. Wong from entering the country and sent him back to Hong Kong, officials said Wednesday, in a move supporters suspected was triggered by pressure from Beijing. Thai officials said he was put on a Hong Kong Airlines flight back to the specially administered Chinese region on Wednesday about 12 hours after he arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
A Thai security report obtained by The Associated Press said that more than 10 police officials from the Royal Thai Police Special Branch and Immigration Police were waiting for Wong when he arrived. It said that he was questioned and was not allowed to use his cellphone or computer.
A Deputy Commander of the Suvarnabhumi Airport Immigration Office confirmed Wednesday that immigration police blacklisted Hong Kong student activist Mr. Joshua Wong as requested by the Communist China.
Colonel Pruthipong Prayoonsiri, Deputy Commander of the Suvarnabhumi Immigration Office, said China has sent a request to the Thai government to seek cooperation to deny him entry to the kingdom.
“As a result, the Immigration Bureau blacklisted him and held him for deportation. When officers informed him, Joshua Wong did not oppose it”, Pruthipong said.
United States officials said they were “monitoring developments”. A spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok said that they that they were urging Thai authorities to clarify Joshua Wong status.
“We support individuals exercising their universally recognized fundamental freedoms of opinion expression peaceful assembly and association throughout the world,” said Steve Castonguay.
Earlier this year, on the request of Chinese regime, Malaysia denied Wong entry to the country.
The 19-year-old activist rose to global prominence when he helped spearhead huge 2014 street protests against Beijing’s plan to restrict elections in Hong Kong.