Japanese university student arrested in Hong Kong gives his full story

TBS News has identified the university student that Hong Kong police arrested near Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the arrest to Japanese media on Tuesday but had declined to disclose his identity.

TBS News uploaded an interview with him outside what appears to be Cheung Sha Wan Police Station onto Yahoo News Japan. As articles on Yahoo News tend to disappear after some time, I attach the clip through Twitter below:

I’ve decided to exceptionally translate the entire article, which is a story of why touring conflicting zones for fun is such a bad idea, below:


The Japanese college student who went to Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where police and demonstrators continue to clash, and was arrested by police was released before dawn on November 20. Immediately after his release, he told JNN [Japan News Network] in an exclusive interview that “[he] didn’t know why he was arrested.”

「こっちは何もやっていないんですよ。石も投げていませんし、ただ見に行っただけなのに」(東京農業大学3年 井田光さん)

“I didn’t do anything here at all. I didn’t throw any rocks. I only came to see what was going on,” said Ida Hikaru, the arrested student.


Ida, aged 21 and a third-year student at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, was released just past midnight on November 20 Hong Kong Time, and came out of the police station. Ida said that he was visiting Hong Kong as a tourist on November 17, went to see the protests at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Kowloon, and was arrested by the police. He left his passport at his hotel, and his wallet contained his university ID card.


“They said I was charged with rioting. As to how I was arrested, I was surrounded and couldn’t go home. I only got out by going to a place that the journalists were using to leave. I don’t know why I was arrested,” Ida said.


According to Ida, he had briefly entered the university campus, and was arrested when he tried to leave. At the time, “I was pinned down and beaten by the police together with the other protestors, but I wasn’t treated roughly at the police station,” Ida said. “I hope the protest participants arrested together with me also get arrested soon,” he said.


“Most [of the people arrested together with me] were minors. They were mostly 10, 16 years old. They were pretty bloodied up,” Ida said.


As this was happening, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which supports respect for human rights and the establishment of democracy in Hong Kong, on the 19th. The Act requires the U.S. government to review each year whether China is protecting ‘One Country, Two Systems’, which guarantees Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy. The Act had already passed in the House of Representatives last month. The Act becomes law after the two houses in Congress combine the bill and President Trump signs the bill, and is further pressure to China.


As the U.S.-China trade war continues, Mr. Trump has not expressed a clear stance to the bill. Observers are paying close attention as to how he will react.

War tourism only demonstrates the privilege of those who do not live in conflict zones. Unlike Ida’s wishes, none of the people arrested with him are likely to be released any time soon.

The comments on Yahoo Japan are equally scathing. Obviously all online comments should be approached with suspicion. But it was only a year ago that Japan saw Hong Kong as a hip and Instagrammable place to visit over the weekend. Now, I doubt we have the same reputation.


It is the case that the mayhem in Hong Kong right now as an extremely dangerous situation, and also requires, politically and diplomatically, discreet judgment.


Since this interview was done right after he was released by the Hong Kong police, he probably doesn’t know how he was been treated by the press in Japan…


There’s nothing wrong with going to Hong Kong, but if it’s true that he dropped by to see the protests while he was on holiday, then he’s reckless.


He probably doesn’t “prepared” in the sense that a war journalist could be locked up in the course of discharging his duties. If he got injured or was locked up for a long time, it could also have become a diplomatic problem.


I myself worry about Hong Kong, and am strongly against the Chinese Communist Party’s oppression, but I think it’s reckless for one to go to protest scenes for tourism purposes and not if you are truly committed to being part of the protests.


It might be extreme to expect a 21 year old college student to have this kind of “preparedness” in mind, but I also think at his age, he should have understood that his actions bring consequences.

From one of the comments on Yahoo News Japan