Hong Kong police are offering rewards for the arrest of 8 overseas pro-democracy activists

Hong Kong police have charged eight self-exiled pro-democracy activists with violating the territory’s draconian national security law and offered rewards of $127,600 each for information leading to their arrest.

HONG KONG – Hong Kong police on Monday charged eight self-exiled pro-democracy activists with violating the territory’s draconian national security law and offered a reward of 1 million Hong Kong dollars ($127,600) each for information leading to their arrest.

The rewards are the first for suspects accused of breaching the legislation imposed by Beijing since it took effect in June 2020. Subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorism are prohibited.

Police announced at a press conference that the eight activists were Nathan Law, Ted Hoy, Dennis Cook, lawyer Kevin Yam, trade union MP Maung Siu Tat, and activists Vin Lau, Anna Cook and Elmer Yuen.

Stephen Lee, chief inspector of the police’s National Security Department, said arrest warrants had been issued for the eight under the National Security Act. He admitted that the police would not be able to arrest them if they remained abroad, but urged them to return to Hong Kong and surrender in order to have their sentences reduced.

He told me that the new charges and rewards are not intended to instill fear but are merely to “enforce the law”.

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Citing articles of the security law that stipulate that the police have extraterritorial jurisdiction, he said they will pursue people abroad who endanger Hong Kong’s national security.

Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese city, came under increasingly tight control by Beijing after months of political infighting in 2019. Authorities cracked down on dissent with more than 260 people, including several pro-democracy figures, being arrested. Their detention under the National Security Law. .

Hong Kong’s political system has also undergone an overhaul to ensure that only pro-Beijing “patriots” can hold office.

The police force said it had evidence that the eight had violated the national security law.

According to the notes, lawyer Yam, former legislator Dennis Kwok and activists Yuen, Lau and Anna Kwok have been charged with foreign complicity for allegedly advocating sanctions against Hong Kong officials.

Ex-MP Hui is accused of inciting separatism, subversion and foreign collusion with his alleged call for independence for Hong Kong and Taiwan on social media, as well as imposing sanctions on city officials.

Lu, who is currently living in Britain, is also accused of foreign complicity and separatist incitement for allegedly advocating sanctions and separating the city from China in meetings with foreign officials and in open letters, petitions, social media posts and media interviews.

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Trade unionist Mong is accused of inciting secession by claiming that he advocated separating Hong Kong from the mainland.

Lu said the new charges were an attempt to suppress dissenting voices.

“I ask Hong Kong not to cooperate with any stalking or rewarding actions. We should not confine ourselves, censor ourselves, fear or live in fear,” he wrote on Twitter.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the UK “will not tolerate any attempts by China to intimidate and silence individuals in the UK and abroad”.

“We call on Beijing to repeal the national security law and on the Hong Kong authorities to end their targeting of those who defend freedom and democracy,” Cleverly said in a statement.

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