Police in Chinese casino capital Macau arrest 5 over informal democracy referendum

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Police in the global gambling hub of Macau have arrested five people involved with an informal poll to measure support for direct elections of the Chinese-controlled city's leader.

The five were arrested Sunday after activists kicked off the weeklong unofficial referendum. It was inspired by a similar vote in June in nearby Hong Kong that Beijing denounced as an illegal farce but which drew nearly 800,000 votes.

One of the organizers, Jason Chao, said Monday that he and four others were arrested for disobeying government orders not to collect residents' personal data.

A 400-person election committee is widely expected to elect the former Portuguese colony's current leader to another five-year term on Aug. 31. That's the same day that referendum organizers plan to release results of the poll.