Snacks, prisoner books trigger arrests under Hong Kong Security Law | Wall Street Journal Political News


Three members of the pro-democracy student group were accused of “subverting” the prisoner support plan.

The Hong Kong police arrested three student activists on charges of “subverting” Hong Kong’s national security law, involving the organization’s welfare program for prisoners, street stalls and social media content.

On Monday, Senior Superintendent Steve Lee from the city’s newly formed National Security Police announced the arrest of two men and a woman from the pro-democracy organization “Student Politics.”

The three are between 18 and 20 years old. They are the convener of the organization Huang Rizhen, the permanent secretary Huang Zhisen, and the former spokesperson Zhu Weiying.

Li said the organization set up street stalls to spread what he called hate speech against the government, including urging people not to use government apps designed to track the spread of the coronavirus.

The police raided the organization’s warehouse and seized a large number of candies, surgical masks, biscuits, lotions and books-items on the list of items that all prisoners can receive from outside-as evidence.

But Li hinted that democracy activists are using these items to win followers in prison.

“Helping prisoners is not a problem, it depends on intentions,” Li said.

“If the goal is to help prisoners of the same faith and recruit followers… continue to violate national security, then it must be a problem.”

A porter collected a box of M&M chocolates. The police searched the warehouse used by Hong Kong student politics and seized the chocolates [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]

Subversion is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Li said the organization also used slogans declared illegal under the new national security law and told people to “prepare for the next revolution.”

China implemented the National Security Law on Hong Kong at the end of June last year, saying it was necessary to bring stability to Hong Kong after large-scale demonstrations and protests in 2019. It also overhauled Hong Kong’s electoral system to ensure that only “patriots” can hold political office in Hong Kong.

Critics claim that Beijing is undermining the freedoms it promised when Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Since the 2019 protests, hundreds of people have been in jail, and many of the city’s most prominent democratic politicians and activists have either been in jail awaiting trial, usually because of national security charges, or have been sentenced. Others are in exile.

In recent weeks, officials have tried to portray prisons as the next frontier in the war to protect “national security.”

Earlier this month, the city’s top security official Chris Tang accused the imprisoned activists of collecting items such as chocolates and hairpins to “build power” and “attract followers.”

Wall-fare, a prisoner rights organization, provided supplies to prisoners and contacted pen pals, and disbanded after he made a comment.

National Security Law punish China believes that splitting the country, subverting the country, terrorism, and colluding with foreign forces are punishable by life imprisonment.

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