A THAI official confirmed Wednesday that Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was detained and sent back to his home country on China’s request.
According to The Nation, Pol Col Pruthipong Prayoonsiri, deputy commander of the Suvarnabhumi Airport immigration office, said China had sought the Thai government’s help to deny Wong’s entry into the kingdom ahead of his visit.
“As a result, the Immigration Bureau blacklisted him and held him for deportation. When officers informed him, Joshua Wong did not oppose it,” Pruthipong was quoted saying.
A South China Morning Post report earlier quoted Hong Kong officials as brushing off claims that China had played a role in blocking Wong’s entry into Thailand.
According to the report, an official claimed it was purely a domestic decision.
“On reports about Thailand being under pressure from China, first I have absolutely no information, and second, I personally do not believe such a matter would be an issue that requires international pressure,” Secretary of Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung was quoted saying.
The matter, he reportedly added, was “purely Thailand’s own handling” of an individual’s entry into the kingdom and that such a practice was common for any country.
Earlier Wednesday, members of Wong’s political party Demosisto confirmed that the activist was taken by Thai immigration authorities upon his arrival in Bangkok where he was due to give a talk at a university.
The group said Wong was due to arrive in Bangkok at about 11.45pm local time on Tuesday, but they were unable to contact him until 4.18am Hong Kong Time.
It added Netiwit Choltiphatphaisal, a leading Thai pro-democracy student, was expected to meet Wong at the airport but was then notified of the Hong Kong activist’s detention.
According to Netwit, Wong, who is a key leader of Hong Kong’s umbrella movement and Demosistō secretary general, was taken shortly after he landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport in the early hours of Wednesday.
He added that this was after local authorities received a letter from the Chinese government about his visit.
“Joshua Wong has been confined at the immigration in Thailand because there’s a request from Chinese government to Thai authority,” Netiwit wrote on his Facebook status, as quoted by Prachatai English.
Demosistō also denounced his detention by Thai authorities.
According to Prachatai English, Wong was invited to give a talk on new generation’s politics at the faculty of political science, Chulakongkorn university.
The activist was due to give a talk at an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the massacre of over a hundred pro-democracy students and bystanders at Thammasat University in 1976 by military and paramilitary forces.
Wong travelled to Japan and Taiwan prior to arriving in Thailand for the Oct 6 event, Netiwit said. At the time of writing, Wong was reportedly deported back to Hong Kong.