Four were arrested in Hong Kong after offering rewards to overseas activists

photo caption,

Political activist Evan Lam for a photo with police in Hong Kong late Wednesday

Hong Kong police have arrested four men they accuse of supporting people overseas who “endanger national security”.

The local arrests come two days after Hong Kong offered rewards to eight pro-democracy activists living abroad.

The bonuses sparked outrage abroad and followed Beijing’s sweeping national security law.

Local media said that among those arrested was Evan Lam, former head of the dissolved political party Demosisto.

Demosisto was co-founded by activist Nathan Law, who now lives in the UK and is one of the targets of this week’s bounty.

The eight people on the HK$1 million (£100,581; $127,637) bounty are based in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, countries that do not have an extradition treaty with China.

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China. Under Beijing’s “one country, two systems” policy, Hong Kong residents enjoy wider freedoms compared to those living on the mainland.

However, pro-democracy protests in 2019 paved the way for the National Security Law, which took effect in June 2020. Since then, police have arrested 260 people for violating it.

The four men, who were arrested on Wednesday night, are accused of “conspiracy to collude with a foreign country or with foreign elements to endanger national security” and “conspiracy to carry out acts of sedition”.

Their crimes are punishable by life imprisonment under the National Security Law.

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