A Catholic arrested at pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong has seen his plight addressed in an open letter to Pope Francis on Facebook, three months after meeting the pontiff in South Korea.
Giovanni Pang, who met Francis during his landmark first visit to the region in August and took a ‘selfie’ with the pope, was among more than 100 people arrested by police Tuesday night as they removed barricades at the main protest site in Mongkok district.
“Do you recall Giovanni Pang from Hong Kong who met you twice in South Korea earlier?” Popular radio DJ Henry Chan, a friend of Pang, said in his letter to the pope posted on Facebook during the early hours of Wednesday morning. “May I let you know this issue and bring it to [sic] Vatican’s kind attention?”
The letter added that Pang went to the protest site to help students as bailiffs removed barriers and arrested leaders of the pro-democracy movement after two months of sit-in rallies.
The movement's student leaders Joshua Wong and Lester Shum were arrested at the scene on Wednesday, according to a group called Scholarism and the Hong Kong Federation of Students.
The Hong Kong Diocese, which Pang works for as a member of the liturgy and youth commissions, reportedly sent a representative to the police station to check on Pang’s situation, according to Chan.
Pang was widely referenced by global media during the papal visit to South Korea after Francis dodged a question he asked about “control and oppression” of Catholics in China.
After the World Youth Day event in Solmoe, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi told reporters that the pope decided to avoid “political” topics during what was supposed to be a “pastoral” event.