Hong Kong (Reuters). Hong Kong police have arrested four people between the ages of 16 and 21 for suspected crimes under the city’s new national security law. This is the first arrest outside the street protests since the laws came into force a month ago.
Journalists take photos and video demonstrations of a police vehicle driving at a station believed to be members of the Hong Kong Independence Group detained by the National Security Division, held in Hong Kong, China, in 2020. July 29 REUTERS / Tyrone Siu
At a news conference just before midnight on Wednesday, a police spokesman said three men and a woman ̵1; all students – were suspected of participating in an online group pledging to use all means to fight for an independent Hong Kong.
“We have been arrested for … enslavement and for organizing and inciting separation,” said Li Kwai-wah, the superintendent of police in the Department of Homeland Security.
“They wanted to unite all independent groups in Hong Kong to promote Hong Kong’s independence.”
China sees Hong Kong as an “integral” part of the country, so calls for independence are the aunt of Beijing Communist Party leaders.
Police said some cell phones, computers and documents were confiscated during the operation.
Just before June 30th. At midnight, Beijing promulgated the disputed laws for its free city and punished what it broadly describes as secession, enslavement, terrorism, and a secret deal with foreign forces for life.
Hong Kong activists have cheated on closing or re-registering social media accounts that could violate the new security law before it was passed. Police said four suspects had been released in July. Posting of infringing content.
Human Rights Watch has condemned the arrests and called on governments to impose targeted sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese government officials responsible for the new law.
“The gross misapplication of this draconian law suggests that the aim is to silence disagreements, not to protect national security,” said Sophie Richardson, director of China’s Human Rights Watch.
Some Western governments, business leaders and human rights groups have been condemned by law. They say this is Beijing’s latest move to tighten former British colonies.
Beijing says the law is critical to closing the gaps in national security defenses that have been filled by the months of brutal anti-government protests that have rocked the city in recent years.
The Beijing and Hong Kong authorities say the law will only apply to a small number of “troublemakers”.
In a Facebook post on the Independence Party initiative, four former members of Studentlocalism, an independence group that was disbanded before the new law came into force, were arrested on suspicion of violating sections 20 and 21 of the law, which include incitement to secession. They were released on bail.
Police did not name the suspects, but local media and online records said Tony Chung, a former spokesman for Student Localism, was among those arrested.
Critics of security laws fear that this will undermine the vast freedoms unseen on the continent, including freedom of expression, which were guaranteed to Hong Kong for 50 years when the 1997 He returned to the Chinese government.
Like the student approach, many anti-government groups were scattered just before the law came into force, ranging from the pro-independence Hong Kong National Front to the Democratic Propaganda Demosist led by young activist Joshua Wong.
Hundreds of small shops dropped slogans of protest from their walls, while publishers began censoring or even rejecting books they felt the government might find harmful.
Presentations by Joyce Zhou, Carol Mang, Yanni Chow and Jessie Pang; Written by Anne Marie Roantree; Edited by Lincoln Feast and Michael Perry