Property firms suffered hefty losses in Hong Kong Friday as the arrest of leading pro-democracy figures wiped out an early rally in the Hang Seng Index, fuelled by fears of fresh violence in the city.
News of the arrests overshadowed a broad advance across other Asian markets that came after China said it would not retaliate against the latest US tariffs, which raised hopes for an easing of trade tensions between the economic giants.
Police on Friday held Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow a day before another planned mass rally on the fifth anniversary of Beijing's rejection of a call for universal suffrage in the city, which sparked the Umbrella Movement in 2014.
Hours earlier, another vocal independence campaigner was detained at Hong Kong's airport.
The arrests are a sign of the "spread of 'white terror' towards Hong Kong protesters", said Issac Cheng of the Demosisto party, co-founded by Wong, using a term for China's efforts to fragment the protest movement.
The latest developments have raised concerns that the months-long and increasingly violent protests will continue for some time or could even see the government impose emergency laws.
The Hang Seng ended up 0.08 percent, or 21.23 points, at 25,724.73.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.16 percent, or 4.68 points, to 2,886.24 and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, slipped 0.74 percent, or 11.83 points, to 1,579.25.
Source : AFP