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Filipino arrested in Mongkok rally released on bail

06 August 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
Protesters gather outside the courthouse to support those arrested, including Pioquinto
Filipino dancer Jethro Pioquinto was released this evening, Aug. 5, after posting bail of $2,000 in Kowloon City Court where he was charged for unlawful assembly, but was not allowed to go home to Manila as planned for a family reunion.

Magistrate Raymond Wong said that one of the bail conditions for the Hong Kong Disneyland performer was not to leave Hong Kong. The other conditions are that he will have to observe a
midnight to 6am curfew and report to the Mong Kok police every Wednesday morning.
Pioquinto, 36, a performer at Hong Kong Disneyland since 2008, was released around 6:30pm on Monday after a late-afternoon committal hearing for 13 people arrested on the night of Aug 3, when police broke up a rally on Nathan Road.
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Pioquinto looking scared as police in riot gear surrounded him on Sunday, Aug 4
He appeared in court with his right arm wrapped in thick gauze pad due to a laceration that he suffered when he tumbled on the pavement and riot police ganged up on him.

Officers of the Consulate who attended the hearing said Pioquinto was held at the North Point Police Station following his arrest but was taken to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital the next morning where he was examined and treated for his injuries.
The SUN asked to talk to Pioquinto after he posted bail and was released by police, but he begged off, saying he could not comment yet as his case is still under investigation and he might say something that could complicate it.

The prosecution said the defendant refused to leave when the police ordered the protesters to go before they began a clearing operation.
Pioquinto was tackled before being arrested in Mongkok.
His friends say he was just passing by, but police claim he did not heed an order to leave.

But the defense lawyer said Pioquinto was not a rally participant and could not have understood the police order to leave because he does not speak Cantonese.

In fact, the lawyer said, the defendant had already bought a plane ticket to Manila departing on Aug 15 and returning on Aug 23 to attend a family reunion which will also be joined by some of his siblings who work abroad. 
The lawyer said Pioquinto, who has no relatives in Hong Kong, goes home to the Philippines two to three times a year.

Friends of the defendant said on social media he was on his way home to his rented room in Mong Kok when he got caught up in the rally.

The prosecution said it strongly opposed the defendant’s application to travel to the Philippines because of the risk that he would not return to Hong Kong.

Pioquinto appeared in court together with a Chinese co-defendant who, like him, was arrested on Saturday evening.

Magistrate Wong granted bail to 12 other protesters arrested on Saturday and ordered then to return for the next hearing on Sept 30.

Meanwhile, fierce clashes erupted again tonight in North Point between protesters and a group of pole-wielding assailants.

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The North Point clashes between black-clad protesters and men wielding wooden poles
The skirmishes lasted for a few minutes as protesters were walking towards the North Point police station, where those arrested by police in Mongkok Sunday night were held.

No police were in sight during the melee, but it was clear from videos of the incident posted online that a few people were injured.
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