Hong Kong police have arrested four people, the youngest only 16, for suspected crimes under the city’s new national security law, the first such detentions outside of street protests since the legislation came into force in force a month ago.
At a press conference just before midnight on Wednesday, a police spokesman said the three men and a woman, all students, were suspected of being involved in an online group that promised to use every means to fight for independence. Hong Kong.
“We are under arrest for … subversions and for organizing and also incitement [of] the secession, “said Li Kwai-wah, the superintendent of police at the Hong Kong Department of Homeland Security.
“They wanted to unite all the independent groups Hong Kong for the purpose of promoting the independence of Hong Kong“
Student Localism, a pro-independence group, said in a statement that its former leader Tony Chung, 19, was among those arrested.
Breaking up: #Bekin picked up the first major round of arrests under #Nationalsecuritylaw tonight. Former @studentlocalism detective Tony Chung and two other former members have been arrested by #SecretPolice. ” Tony has been sad for days. pic.twitter.com/xi6jaX0T1J
– Joshua Wong 黄 之 锋 😷 (@joshuawongcf) July 29, 2020
Another former member who was arrested has been identified by politicians and local media as Yanni Ho. Two others were not identified. The oldest detainee is 21 years old.
Last month, Student Localism announced it was dissolved as Beijing enacted its national security law, banning secession, subversion, terrorism and clashing with foreign forces.
Regards China Hong Kong to be an “inalienable” part of the country, so calls for independence are anathema to the leaders of his Communist Party.
Beijing imposed national security law on the territory of the semi-autonomous city on the eve of July 1, when it traditionally marks the 1997 grant by Britain. Uin the framework of the so-called “One Country, Two Systems”, China is supposed to guarantee Hong Kong’s freedoms and way of life for at least 50 years.
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Beijing says national security law is needed to end the unrest and restore stability – and says it will not affect people’s political freedoms.
Human Rights Watch condemns arrests and urges governments to impose targeted sanctions on them Hong Kong and Chinese government officials responsible for the new law.
“The gross misuse of this draconian law makes it clear that the goal is to silence dissent, not protect national security,” said Sophie Richardson, China’s director at Human Rights Watch.
The legislation prohibits what Beijing loosely defines as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with a life in prison.
It has been condemned by some Western governments, business leaders and human rights groups who say it is an attempt by Beijing to tighten its grip on China’s freest city. In response, they suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong and released migration rules for Hong Kong residents.
Beijing says the law is crucial to drilling holes in national security defenses exposed by months of sometimes violent anti-government protests that began in June 2019.
Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong they say the law will be used to target only a minority of “problems”.