Hong Kong Detainee Number SAF02518
The following is a translation of an article (esouth.org and InMediaHK) posted by Pan Senwei, a student at Soochow University (Taiwan). In December 2005, Pan was in Hong Kong during the period of the WTO MC6. This essay is a re-telling of his experience as a detainee.
Why is this account important?
Because it cuts right at what is increasingly obvious to everybody. This account illustrated three important points:
There is nothing extraordinary with that sort of tactic. The New York Police Department did exactly that at the 2004 Republican National Convention when they arrested more than 1,800 demonstrators and held them there for 72 hours (more than the legally allowed time limit). The police knew that they faced a multi-million-dollar class action lawsuit afterwards, but they accomplished their primary goal of keeping those people off the streets for the most critical period. The money and the reputation of the department meant nothing to the senior officials.
However, the Hong Kong police apparently cannot conceive of being perceived that way. This is the place with the myth of rule of law and independence of the judiciary. They could not release all 900 plus people without charges. Thus, 14 people were selected by some opaque process to be charged and the rest were released. Later on, prosecutors agreed that the evidence was inadequate for 11 of the 14 and let them go. So there will be a trial of 3 persons to be held in March. The big picture here is not about the three people -- it is about the 900 plus people who were detained for no evidentiary reasons. You can read this essay for the full story.
For this semester, I took a practical course in the Human Rights major at Soochow University. At the recommendation of the instructor, I chose to have a two-month internship with the Taiwan International Workers Association (TIWA). During this period of TIWA internship, I was responsible for taking internal meeting notes and I have accumulated a lot of knowledge about many cases in which foreign laborers were exploited in Taiwan. I also found out that their exploitation was very much tied in with Taiwan's policies with respect to foreign laborers.
Thus, during the 2005 December 2005 migrant laborer human rights march, we asked the Labor Committee to change the current policies on migrant laborers. At the study groups held during my TIWA internship, I also paid attention to the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) under the WTO (World Trade Organization) structure which was unfavorable to migrant laborers. The agreement asked the member countries to open up their countries and liberalize their internal markets in service areas (such as education, construction, commercial, finance, etc). Apart from GATS, TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights) affects the ability of people who suffer from AIDS or malaria to obtain cheap medicine. In addition, the AoA (Agreement on Agriculture) affected the survival of small farmers in developing countries with respect to the massive subsidies to farmers in developed countries.
The above examples are just three of the many agreements of the TWO. Obviously, these agreements are unsatisfactory, for why else would more than 4,000 people come to Hong Kong to protest and apply pressure at the Wanchai Convention Centre? These people include workers, fishermen, farmers, migrant laborers, sex workers and various NGO's. Of course, the agreements are fairly complicated and cannot be fully explained in just a few sentences. But we believe that that the various ministers from the big countries and the large financial groups are meeting in secret to make decisions that will affect hundreds of millions of lives on the planet. We should not be missing in action. Therefore, I decided to come with the various labor movement groups to Hong Kong to let our small but nonignorable voices to heard, for the sum total of all small voices form a large voice.
At 730pm on the evening of December 17, the police escalated their chemical weaponry from pepper spray to tear gas. The demonstrators at the bottom of the bridge fled towards the outside of the bridge. I lost track of the others in my group, and I was directed by the marshals to retreat from Gloucester Road to Lockhart Road. On the way, I looked around in the hope of find the red flag of the workers action committee and my lost companions. At the time, the police had surrounded the entire demonstration area. The shops have pulled down their iron gates and stopped conducting business. Even the 24/7 convenience shops did that. I was on the outside of the hot zone, and there were many Hong Kong citizen spectators as well as other demonstrators who were on the bridge escaping the tear gas attack. Some South East Asian organization people were too tired and therefore sat down by the roadside to rest; they did not seem to want to confront the police again. At the same time, the drummer squad formed by the family relatives of the Koreans were beating their drums in neat formation and ready to move. At 8pm, I still could not find the others. The marshal who was accompanying me had to leave for something else and he asked me if I would be alright by myself. I thanked him and said, "You can leave if you are busy. I will be alright by myself."
I was injured when I jostled with the police at the intersection of Gloucester Road and Harbour Road. I and three or four Koreans picked up a shield that was seized by someone as our defense. We were trying to move ahead in surges that lasted about five seconds each time. Other than my body, I had no weapons. I could not kick at the human wall formed by the police. Previously to this, I had never practiced with anybody. But we seemed to have worked out a mutual understanding. We stayed together close in order to sense what the other bodies are doing and we coordinated with what the other people are doing, in order to move forward and backward at the same time. We repeated this three or four times, and I could kick the police shield each time. One time, I felt that I had the opportunity to pull down the shield, but I had to retreat in order to coordinate my movement with the others. In the face of this massive police formation, a few people will not be able to break through it. Each time that we retreated, I adjusted to make sure that the plastic wrapping on my face was firmly in place. Although I was hit with the pepper spray, I was never directly hit because I had the plastic wrap and the green handkerchief. I only felt the sting of the pepper spray when I had to take off the handkerchief to cover up against the tear gas.
During the next few forays, I learned that kicking alone could not bring down the shields. Therefore, I attempted to use my hand to pull down the shield. Unfortunately, I was careless and I got hit on the right elbow by a police baton. At the moment, I lost feelings in my right elbow and then I felt numb there. I subconsciously felt that I must have broken my arm. At the time, I was very nervous and I went from under the bridge onto the bridge itself for help. On the way up the bridge, I saw that the Koreans had found some iron barricades. At the time, I had no idea that they were ready to use those iron barricades to break through the police line.
Since I could not found the rest of the group and I wanted to stay with the group, I decided not to retreat once I saw that the chaotic front had settled down. I moved forward to find my group. I began to go back towards Gloucester Road and I descended the bridge. Five minutes later, I saw the red flag of the labor union. They saw me from afar, and Qingyu from the Taiwan International Workers Association was worried about me. She did not know if I was hurt from the first wave of clashes with the police. When they saw that I had a bandage on my hand, everybody asked me what happened. I was embarrassed about making everybody worry, so I described how I got injured and then retreated under the bridge. Everybody saw that I was not as seriously injured as they thought, and they were relieved. Qingyu asked me not to join the demonstration again because my injury could worsen with more physical contact. I promised her that I would move with everybody else. So I followed everybody and we sat down about 100 meters away from the police and then we would move again depending on what the police did.
After these happenings, my sense of time was off. I thought that it must be around midnight, but it was only around 9pm. The police then began another round of chemical weapons (tear gas). Although we were somewhat far away from the hot zone, it was a nerve-racking scene. As soon as there were any indications, we would pick up our backpacks and use wet towels to cover our mouths and noses and fled to the rear.
On the way, the support from the Hong Kong citizens was touching! Two middle-aged Hong Kong women brought two big bags of bread and mineral water into the demonstration area for us (and they had already finished distributing what they had bought previously and this was there second round). Another fashionably dressed young person pointed to us and said in English: "I support you guys!"
The secretary-general Wang Fangping of the Everyday Concern Mutual Aid Association was even more seriously injured than I was. In order to pull back the iron barricades used to break through the police line, she did not notice that the Korean farmers with her had already retreated. So she was caught alone by the police who landed more than a dozen forceful baton blows on her buttocks, knees and arms (there are photos as proof). She could not walk because of the injury to her knee and she needed people to hold her up (a hospital examination would show that she had a dislocated knee). Cheng Xiaota who was with her got hit in the head.
In truth, many people have pointed out that the police had used retaliatory and surprise attacks on many people without warning during the demonstration, and even reporters got hit during the process (there were many civilian media organizations present without reporters' credentials). The Taiwan university student Lee Kin-sing was arrested because he was photographing the scene and he had signs of pepper spray on his clothing. The Hong Kong People's Alliance on the WTO and many other human rights organizations have photographs and other testimonies about violent acts and abuses during police activities and intend to submit the documents to the Geneva Human Rights Commission.
The time is about 10pm in the evening. A large group of people were still facing the police on Gloucester Road. But Fangping's knee problem seemed to be quite serious. So we decided to retreat to the Wanchai MTR and dial 999 for an ambulance. At the same time, the police began to move towards the hot spot of demonstration. The police formed a wall and moved carefully from one street corner down to the next. Apart from citizens and media workers, anyone who cannot produce a Hong Kong resident ID card was not allowed to leave. We were almost locked down by the police line. This was a curious point, because the police either wanted to disperse the Hong Kong residents quickly, or because they think that all non-Hong Kong residents are violent rioters and that was why nobody else was permitted to depart.
We waited for a long time and the ambulance finally arrived in half an hour. Although my right elbow felt alright, Qingyu insisted that I go with Fangping to the hospital for a check-up. We got on the ambulance and then a message came over the communication system. We were to be sent to the Nethesol Hospital about twenty minutes away in Chaiwan instead of the nearer Rutterjee Hospital in Wanchai where many Koreans were sent. At first, the Taiwan people thought that we were being sent to the Rutterjee Hospital and they all got on taxi cabs to go there. There, they saw an incredible scene: the police were waiting outside and they took away all the Koreans who had just been treated and they even went in to remove those Koreans who were still being treated. The Koreans wanted to go back to the demonstration zone to continue their demonstration and they did not want to be taken away. Therefore, they were tussles with the police, and some of the Koreans were taken into the police vans and beaten!
After contacting by telephone, my friends came over from Rutterjee Hospital to the Nethesol Hospital where we were actually sent to. When they arrived, I had finished getting my X-ray taken and I was waiting for the doctor's report. While waiting, we sat in the hospital lobby and watched the television transmission from Wanchai. The Koreans were still protesting at the scene, but the police must have them surrounded. Soon, my report came out and the doctor said that I only had soft tissue damage and there was no problem. He prescribed some painkillers, and the package on the medicine indicated that the time was 11:05pm.
During the past few days of demonstration, the person who went with us was a labor movement veteran Ng Wingngai. He also found us the place to stay. He is a doctoral student of sociology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He was wary after seeing the Koreans get beaten up at Rutterjee Hospital, and he noted immediately that this hospital was also being surrounded by a large group of undercover police officers. They were watching us from outside the glass door, counting our numbers and deciding what to do. So while we were watching the television to see what was going on, four or five undercover police officers came up, showed us their badges, said that it was too crowded inside the hospital and wanted us to go outside and have a 'chat' with them. There were already two small vans and a truck waiting outside. But they did not figure who should be sitting in which vehicle until we got outside and they had to talk among themselves to decide. It was very cold outside and I kept shivering. The Daily Concern Mutual Aid Association Executive Director Chung Kwunchu lent me her scarf, but I was still shivering. At the time, I was nervous. The police did not expect that there were eight of us, so the three vehicles were packed. Only Kwunchu stayed behind with Fangping at the hospital.
I, Ng Wingngai and "Peacock" rode in the same truck. The full-scale treatment by the police meant that this closed vehicle had eleven people in there. Ng Wingngai sarcastically told the police that they were too kind when they arranged more than a dozen police officers to arrest a few old, weak and wounded people. At the same time, he told me to relax. But I could not relax at all. Along the way, we cooperated with the police because we really thought that we were going for a 'chat.' We spoke to each other in Taiwanese dialect and we agreed on what we would say if we were interrogated separately later.
About 20 minutes, we arrived at the backdoor of the Kwun Tong Court House. The female police officer at the gate said that this was not the right entrance, and so we were sent somewhere else. A few minutes later, the police pulled down the shades because they found out that we were being pursued by the paparazzi. Then we were brought into the parking lot of the Kwun Tong police station . When the car stopped, the police did not let us get off immediately. We waited in the truck. Through the open door, we could see that there were about 10 Koreans sitting in the empty parking lot. This made us think that there would be a group hearing. But just as we were about to get off, a police official came by the door and said: "As a Hong Kong police officer, I am announcing that you have participated in an illegal assembly. According to Public Security Law Article 18, I am arresting you. Please get off the truck now!" This surprised us greatly, because they had told us that to come down for a chat. How did this become an arrest?
After we got off the truck, we were immediately brought into an open shed where they collected all the evidence from us. Everything on us was searched -- the backpack, the wallet, the pockets. After a careful search, they took away from me one Down Down WTO headband with black letters on white cloth, a cap in blue-and-white stripes, a Workers Association singlet, and my digital camera and memory card. Afterwards, we were each cuffed with two (or more) plastic strips. One of them was for identification. The number on my identification strip was SAF02518. This told me that from the moment that it was put on me, I am a criminal suspect in the eyes of the Hong Kong police. Compared to ordinary persons, I lost greater freedom (but you should not think that just because you were on the outside that you were not being watched and that you had all the 'freedoms'). The other strip made sure that our two hands can be no more than 3 centimeters away from each other. This meant that it was very awkward for us to pick up stuff or write things. Under normal circumstances (after I entered the detention center, I found out that the Koreans were very good at "abnormal" operations), the strip can only be tightened.
Then we received from the police a "Notice To Persons Investigated By The Police/Persons Detained By The Police" to indicate that we were "Persons Detained By The Police." The notice said that I have the right to (1) to notify my country through the Hong Kong representative office to say that I have been detained; (2) request to inform a friend or relative that I have been detained; (3) receive free food and tea; (4) ask for drinking water; (5) ask for treatment for illness; (6) ask and receive a list of lawyers; (7) ask to be out on bail.
After finishing the registration of our identities, we were brought over for photographs. I held a white piece of paper with the number SAF02518 with both hands and I was photographed alone and then I was photographed along with the police officer who arrested me (the police officer put his hand on my shoulder -- what does that mean?). While we were going through the evidence collection, a Korean who was arrested with us (he resembled Chang Shuchung) was jumping and yelling, because four police officers were trying to take his fingerprints by force. He was trying to fight and resist. As I turned around to look at this Korean in fascination, the police officer who was taking down my information warned me specifically that the Hong Kong police can use force to take down our fingerprints (if necessary). But if the police have no direct evidence of crime, the fingerprints and the photographs will be destroyed and there will be no record. Now I don't believe that kind of talk, but what can I do? So he took a set of fingerprints from me. At that time, I was naive to believe that once they took the evidence, they would take us somewhere else for questioning and then I can leave. Because of this belief, I did not give the police too much hassle and I cooperated with them in order to be able to leave earlier. By this time, it was 1:10am on December 18. I had not had dinner yet, and I was hungry and tired.
Ng Wingngai was not as cooperative as I was. He requested to make a telephone call and then he would not let the police remove the DV recorder on him. So he got to keep everything. In the end, he proved to be right and we should have also refused the demands by the police. But like everybody else, he got plastic strips on his wrists that limited his freedom of movement. Afterwards, we were brought to the place where the Koreans had been sitting. On the empty field, we shivered in the cold wind.
After sitting without doing anything for half a hour, we were brought onto a police van. Unlike the private vehicles that took us here, this was a police van. We were sent to the detention cell at the Kwun Tong courthouse. When we entered, the men and the women were segregated. So I, "Peacock" and Ng Wingngai were locked up together and the other women were elsewhere. Once we entered the detention cell, I found a corner in the 8x3 meter cell (it is oblong in shape, with concrete seats along both sides. At the rear, there is a wash basin and a tall squat toilet seat behind a short wall). Although it was cold, I was sleepy and I lied down on the concrete floor and slept even though my body was getting colder and colder. Before we entered, there were already six Koreans in there and they were asleep already.
Ng Wingngai told me what happened next. He said that "Peacock" was called into another cell for searching. He was thoroughly searched -- socks, shoe laces, eyeglasses, backpack (when the police returned the eyeglasses, there was a crack on one lens; the zipper on the backpack was damaged; some of the photographs on the digital camera were deleted; the destructive power of the police cannot be under-estimated). They took all his paper and pen, and they even want to clip away a piece of string used to tighten up his jacket. Of course, "Peacock" objected so they took away his jacket altogether. Fortunately, the Hong Kong Labor Union's lawyer Linda Huang arrived and the police stopping their disgusting procedures. But as a result "Peacock" was locked up in a different cell now.
I woke up after more than one hour and I found that someone had put a blanket on me. But one blanket was not enough. I was already wearing a raincoat-like jacket but I was still shivering in fetal position with one blanket. Several hours later, I began to develop a cough. I also learned that Qingyu who was also arrested had developed a fever. But she refused to see a doctor because she would have to be handcuffed to iron an chain around the waist and she refused to see the doctor because she would not be humiliated in this way. After I sat around and examined the environment, I lied down again to sleep. In my sleep, I seemed to hear more Koreans coming in. I did not bother to open my eyes, but I imagined that the crowd at Gloucester Road was being sent in here slowly.
Ng Wingngai was able to speak to lawyer Linda Huang at her request. According to him, the lawyer said that the Hong Kong police probably wanted to hold us here until the WTO conference has ended. The Hong Kong police would be stupid enough to let us out early.
After some time, the police gave each of us a pack of biscuits. There were three biscuits in the pack. I have no idea why they wanted to distribute biscuits to us at this time.
At about 5am in the morning, I woke up again. The Korean who had refused to get his fingerprints take was banging and kicking the door yelling "Police! Water! Water!" He yelled for a long time, but nobody came. I fell asleep amidst the sound because I was too tired.
At around 8am, the police passed in some macaroni soup through the small hole in the steel door. Everybody got a bowl. But perhaps they thought that this cell was too noisy earlier, they deliberately refused to give us any spoons. So we had to fold the paper bowl cover and used that as the spoon. At first, I did not have the appetite and I could not eat it. But since I was not sure what was going to happen next, I ate to get more energy and I won't have to starve later.
The Hong Kong police had non-standard procedures. On one hand, there was the example of "Peacock" from whom they took everything away. On the other hand, the Koreans began to smoke after dining and completely in disregard of the "No Smoking" sign on the wall in the detention cell. Ng Wingngai still had the DV camera in hand and we used the last 20 seconds to record the environment of the cell.
After the macaroni soup, the police sent in paper cups. So at least we got to drink water! But from thereon, we needed to keep banging on the door and say "Water! Water!" and then the police would come a lot later to fill our cups with water. That was how that Korean had the first clash with the police as he took the water from the wash basin and threw it at the Hong Kong police. Whether by training or tolerance, the police was not angry. But we knew that we would not be getting more water to drink any time soon.
Later on, I saw a white police officer. According to the explanation of Ng Wingngai, I learned that Hong Kong had been under British rule for 99 years. Although Hong Kong has been returned to China for a few years already, a certain number of British people continued to work for the government as middle-level commanders. They are not the Chief Executive, but they will not be at the front line facing the people either.
At around 11am, the police came in and called a few people out without explanation. So I, Ng Wingngai and a few Koreans were searched again. This time, everything that we had on us was taken away, so I lost my paper and pen and my eyeglasses (the police officer said that he would leave it by the side of the cell and I can ask him for them if I should need them anytime). Although Ng Wingngai insisted on keeping his eyeglasses, the police took them away because they had to protect our personal safety. The police took us around the area, but then they brought us to the cell next to the one that we had just stayed in.
The Korean who had just poured water on the police officer (later I found out from chatting that he was a chicken farmer with 100,000 chickens and he was wearing a bandage on his head as a result of an injury) saw the white police officer going by, and he got some water from the wash basin and the white police got doused this time. The Korean yelled "Water!" at the white officer, who said that they were busy and they would get us water when they find the time. Even an English-speaking Korean interpreter came over to help and said bluntly to the officer: "That's your f*cking problem!"
Throughout, I had "actively" cooperated with the police detention. But when wanted to take my eyeglasses away, I couldn't stand it! They said that when I "need" the eyeglasses, I can get it back. What rubbish? I can't see anything without them, so I will "need" them all the time to help me see! So I told the police that I wanted my eyeglasses and I stuck my hands out of the small hole and showed him my ID tag. He looked at the number and then he took a few steps aside and started looking. Then he told me that he could not find the eyeglasses for SAF02518. I went berserk and I screamed, "Find it!" He was unhappy and he went to look again. Some time later, he came back and found the SAF02518 eyeglasses from the bags that he had just gone through. He asked me to stick my hands out again and verified the ID. Since he 'accurately' and 'rapidly' found my eyeglasses, I had to thank him. So after receiving the eyeglasses, I said "Good dog!" in 'full gratitude.' I did not stick my hands out to pat his head. From the viewpoint of those who are in charge at the prison, they need to make sure that the detainees cannot always get what they want in order to show who has the authority there. The rights in the bill of rights don't mean much.
After having a quick meal at noon, the Koreans led everyone to sing a song that they have been singing this week. Although the Taiwanese people don't understand it, we have memorized the rhythm so we hummed along with them. We also held a moment of silence for a South Korean farmer who had just passed away the night before yesterday after falling into a coma as a result of a police beating at the October APEC meeting. Recently, more and more Korean farmers have fallen into hardship and chose to commit suicide by drinking pesticide.
Then we began to introduce ourselves to each other, one at a time. Although Ng Wingngai and I didn't speak Korean and they didn't understand Chinese, there was a Korean-American NGO worker Danny who worked on immigrant labor rights in Los Angeles and he acted as our Korean-English interpreter. There were fourteen of us in this cell. Through our introductions, we found out that there was a fruit farmer, a chicken farmer, a metal worker union member, the KPL (Korean Peasants League) vice-president and several members of KCTU.
Most of the time when we were in there, we slept. When we woke up, we asked if there is any news. During this time, we found out from a statement published by the court that some of us will be prosecuted (and therefore we knew that not all of us will be prosecuted), but the actual number was not known.
In order to pass the time, the Koreans sat in threes or fours to chat. Although I didn't understand Korean, I can usually pick up words like "Korean farmers," "laborers", "WTO", "KCTU" which sound the similar in Chinese. So even though they were detained, they still continued to discuss the movement. Sometimes, someone would shout loudly from inside a cell to people in other cells and everybody would reply in earnest. This lifted up the spirits of everybody.
Through Danny's interpreting, I asked if this was the first time that the Koreans were in jail. Apart from Danny, all eleven Koreans had been in jail before (and this was the first time for Ng Wingngai either). That was why I thought that they were quite clear about what they were doing, as if they had experience before. Thus, they knew to ask for water as soon as they came in. Even the way that they kicked on the door looked quite professional. They were also comfortable about sitting on the floor. They spread out a blanket and they can lie down. They slipped the shoes underneath the blanket and that became a pillow. They had no problems going to sleep. Most of the time, people slept and there was no indication that they could not adapt. For them: "Let's see where the next WTO conference will be. Before going, we'll book space at the local jail!" I can now completely understand these kinds of jokes. WTO has really affected their lives, and they must fight for their lives. Going in and out of prison only restricts their freedom for a brief duration, and it does not dissuade their hatred of the WTO.
I and Peacock were originally supposed to leave tonight for Taiwan. But since we were arrested suddenly, we had no contact with the outside. We were concerned that our families would worry about our safety after they learn that Taiwanese people have been arrested. After dinner, we demanded to exercise our right to contact our family. The police delayed by saying that they were very busy and "Later, later." But from the experience with the drinking water, 'a little while' usually meant at least half an hour.
At 8pm (that would be 20 hours after we arrived), Peacock was told that he could make a call. We were figuring out what to tell our families. But Peacock came back in less than one minute and he was cursing. The police did not permit him to make international calls. We could only make local calls. This is a joke. There are Koreans and Taiwanese here and we don't live in Hong Kong. What is the use of making a local telephone call? Fortunately, Ng Wingngai gave us the telephone number for his friend and through the friend, we were able to tell our families in Taiwan that we were alright. But the bad news came when the police told us at 9pm that nobody can make any more telephone calls. So our right to call was removed!
Peacock was very worried. He called for the police officer to come and then rammed himself into the wall right there. The police officer was scared and then quickly promised to check. Ten minutes later, the police restored our telephone privileges again. But we could still only make local telephone calls. But at least Peacock got some value out of his head banging (Peacock joked with us that we better treat him to eat pig's brains when we return to Taiwan).
The next day, the police changed their attitudes from before. They opened the jail cell door and they brought the food in through the door. They called us "Gentlemen" and they voluntarily poured water for us. We were pleasantly surprised and we thought that maybe we won't have to stay for dinner. Unfortunately, this was just a beautiful misunderstanding.
After lunch (about 1pm), the American consulate staff and the South Korean foreign deputy minister came to the detention center to speak to Danny and the KPL vice-president and they brought us some news. We found out that the police have released 150 females from Taiwan and Korea this morning, so we guess that the police will release most of us before too long. In the evening, there was more news that the police intended to prosecute at least 10 demonstrators, but there was uncertainty as to who would be prosecuted.
In the afternoon, Ng Wingngai called his Hong Kong friend, and the police did not hassle him too much this time. When he came back, he said that he learned from his friend that the WTO has issued a declaration in which the developed countries promised to eliminate all export subsidies before 2013. The Korean farmers present felt that this was a piece of good news. I don't know if this is related to the escalated demonstrations. But we were still quite happy about this outcome.
At 47 hours after we were brought here (strictly speaking, it was 48 hours after the police took us away from the hospital and therefore the three Taiwanese were being illegally detained), we were released. The Koreans were released first, three at a time. When they stepped out of the cell, we shake hands or high-fived through the steel door. Although we had only stayed together for 47 hours, I felt an indescribable sadness to see the Koreans leave. I even thought the police have managed to create a common bonding by putting the Koreans and the Taiwanese in the same cell and I didn't want to leave yet. This must be some kind of prison fraternity to a certain extent!
In thinking about what happened this week, we must affirm that the South Korean farmers, the families of the farmers, the workers and the teachers are fighting for their lives every day outside the conference hall. They demonstrated in the streets and they did not mind going to jail. The women, sex workers, fishermen, migrant laborers and others who come to Hong Kong to join the anti-WTO demonstration were with all the other citizens of the world who oppose WTO's neoliberalism and free market reforms. Just because they did not come to Hong Kong does not mean that they agree with the damages cast upon them by the WTO for they may be fighting in their local areas. They are not asking for a lot; all they want is a place to live and some means of feeding themselves.
Let us hope that the day will arrive, WTO, We Truly Overcome!