Hong Kong police have offered reward of HK$1m (PS100,400 128,000) in exchange for information that leads to the arrest of five activists for democracy.
Hong Kong Police Offer Rewards HK$1m for Arrest of Pro Democracy five Activists The list includes Simon Cheng, a former UK consulate employee arrested in the year 2019 in a highly-publicized case.
The other include Frances Hui, Joey Siu, Johnny Fok and Tony Choi. They are all accused of breaking the severe National Security Law.
The decision was denounced by the US as well as the UK where many of the activists live.
The Activists and Accusations
Five individuals were accused of a range of crimes, such as “inciting sectarian violence” as well as “colluding in a shady alliance with forces from abroad” to threaten national security.
“They have sold their country in the region of Hong Kong, and neglected Hongkongers’ rights,” National Security Department Chief Superintendent Li Kwai Wah said during an event for journalists. “The National Security Department will continue to pursue them until the very end.”
Mr. Li stated that the agitators continue to “engage in activities that threaten the security of our nation” following their departure to the United States.
Mr. Cheng was imprisoned during two days in mainland China during an official trip in August of 2019. A former worker at the British consulate’s Hong Kong consulate was accused of inciting political tensions in the city.
Mr. Cheng said to the BBC later in the year that he had been “shackled in a hood, blindfolded, and shackled” in detention.
The 33-year old was later admitted to asylum in UK and later create Hongkongers in Britain an all-inclusive non-profit group that assists Hongkongers who are moving into the UK.
Simon Cheng’s Detention and Response
As a response to the announcement of a bounty, Cheng said: Cheng declared: “Being hunted by China (Hong Kong)’s secret police with a one-million-dollar bounty is a lifetime achievement.
“If the government considers the pursuit of freedom and democracy to be a crime, then we accept these charges in order to expose the true face of social justice not bending to authorities,” he wrote on X the platform that was previously called Twitter.
Ms Siu has stated she was on X: “I will never be silenced. I will not back down.” The 24-year-old played a crucial part during her role in the Hong Kong protests of 2019 before fleeing for the US.
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has called the Hong Kong police’s move “a menace to our democracy as well as basic human rights”.
“We will not accept anyone who tries to use power from abroad to harass, intimidate or hurt communities or individuals within the UK,” he said in a statement issued on Thursday.
Mr Cameron stated that he directed authorities in Hong Kong, Beijing and London to “raise the question as an issue urgently with Hong Kong and Chinese authorities”.
In response to the criticism, the Chinese Embassy in the UK stated that they “firmly is opposed to UK side’s denigration of Hong Kong’s legal system” within Hong Kong and “its sheltering of people listed on the wanted list, as well as interfering in Hong Kong’s matters”.
While US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller stated that the move displays “blatant indifference” of international standards.
“We oppose any attempt to enforce the Beijing-imposed national security law in a different manner and insist the fact that Hong Kong authorities have no power within United States borders,” he added.
Previous Bounties and International Criticism
Then, in July Hong Kong announced similar rewards for other activists, which drew international outrage.
None of them has been detained, but authorities have arrested a number of people who were accused of supporting them.
The previous group of wanted activists includes Nathan Law, who was Hong Kong’s youngest elected lawmaker before being imprisoned for his role with the anti-democracy Umbrella Protests of 2014.
Human rights organization Amnesty International on Thursday called for Hong Kong to withdraw the benefits and free those who are accused of aiding the activists who were exiled.
“These bounties do not just risk the safety and liberty of those who are targeted, but also have implications for other activists who are in a state of uncertainty about their safety, whether they are in Hong Kong or overseas,” said Sarah Brooks, the group’s deputy director of the region for China.
She urged the those countries that host the activists to “protect the activists from being targeted with long-arms by Hong Kong authorities. Hong Kong authorities for simply doing their job in accordance with their human rights”.
Ongoing Crackdown and Trials
Nearly 300 people have been detained in the controversial Hong Kong National Security Law. They include Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai who is going to trial on Monday for accusations of collusion with foreign forces, including the US.
The founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper could be sentenced to life in prison in the event of a conviction.
The other 47 defendants, which includes the city’s most famous activists, including Joshua Wong and Benny Tai are also in the process of trial.
Rewards : Hong Kong Police Offer Rewards HK$1m for Arrest of Pro Democracy five Activists
Hong Kong Police Offer Rewards HK$1m for Arrest of five Pro-Democracy Activists