Thailand on Wednesday (Oct 5, 2016) barred entry to a Hong Kong student activist who helped organize pro-democracy protests in the Chinese-ruled city in 2014, with his supporters blaming China for the move, Reuters reported.
Bespectacled Joshua Wong, 19, was detained in Bangkok where he had been invited to speak at two universities about Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Movement” street protests and on setting up his political party, Demosisto.
He was later put on a plane back to Hong Kong.
The protests in Hong Kong, the former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, presented Communist Party rulers in Beijing with one of their biggest political headaches in decades.
Wong was given 80 hours of community service by a Hong Kong court in August on a charge of unlawful assembly for taking part in a sit-in at the height of the protests in the Asian financial hub, said Reuters.
Thailand has been ruled by a junta since a 2014 coup which was widely condemned by the West. Since then, the generals running Thailand have forged closer ties with Beijing.
The Thai Foreign Ministry said in a statement permission for Wong to enter Thailand “involves various factors.”
Wong arrived in Bangkok just before midnight local time on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he boarded a Hong Kong Airlines flight back to Hong Kong which was expected to land at 3.45 p.m.(0745 GMT), his party said.
China’s Foreign Ministry, when asked about Wong’s detention, said it had “noticed the relevant reports.”
“China respects Thailand’s exercise of immigration control according to the law,” it said in an email.