Hong Kong ‘in search of arrest’ of fleeing activists

Simon Cheng and Nathan Law - composite picture Image copyright EPA/Reuters
Image caption Simon Cheng and Nathan Law are amongst these reportedly wished underneath a brand new safety regulation

Police in Hong Kong are in search of the arrest of six pro-democracy activists living in exile in Western nations, together with the UK, media studies say.

The group reportedly contains former UK consulate employee Simon Cheng, well-known activist Nathan Law and US citizen Samuel Chu.

They are wished on suspicion of violating a brand new safety regulation imposed in Hong Kong by Beijing, Chinese state TV reported, calling them “troublemakers”.

Hong Kong police declined to remark.

The growth comes after legislative elections scheduled for September have been delayed for a yr by Hong Kong’s authorities on Friday.

It mentioned the move was vital due to a spike in Covid-19 infections, however the opposition accused it of utilizing the pandemic as a pretext. The White House mentioned the move undermined democracy.

Pro-democracy politicians had hoped to capitalise on anger within the Chinese territory concerning the new safety regulation to win a majority within the Legislative Council (LegCo).

Many in Hong Kong, a former British colony handed again to China in 1997, fear that distinctive freedoms meant to be assured till 2047 are underneath critical menace.

The UK and Australia are amongst nations which have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong in current weeks. Germany did so on Friday – a kind of reported to be on the brand new “wanted list” has obtained asylum there.

Who are the ‘wished’?

Chinese state TV community CCTV mentioned six individuals have been wished on suspicion of inciting secession or colluding with international forces – each crimes may be punished with as much as life in jail underneath the brand new safety regulation.

The six, in keeping with CCTV and Hong Kong media, are:

Simon Cheng, a former worker of the UK’s Hong Kong consulate who was not too long ago granted political asylum in Britain. He was detained final August whereas on a enterprise journey to mainland China and accused of inciting political unrest in Hong Kong.

He denies that and says he was overwhelmed and compelled to signal false confessions whereas in Chinese custody.

Responding to information of the arrest warrant, Mr Cheng advised the BBC that he wouldn’t cease talking out about points in Hong Kong. “The totalitarian regime now criminalises me, and I would take that not as a shame but an honour,” he mentioned.

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Media captionSimon Cheng says he was blindfolded and overwhelmed in China

Nathan Law, 27, a high-profile activist who has fled to the UK. “I have no idea what is my ‘crime’ and I don’t think that’s important. Perhaps I love Hong Kong too much,” he mentioned on Twitter.

Mr Law first got here to prominence as a scholar protest chief in 2014. He mentioned he was dissatisfied and frightened to must reside in exile, and that he was going to must “sever” his relationship together with his household in Hong Kong.

Samuel Chu, a US citizen. He is the son of Reverend Chu Yiu Ming, a Baptist minister who was one of many founders of the 2014 “Umbrella Movement”.

Mr Chu runs the Washington DC-based Hong Kong Democracy Council and mentioned he final visited Hong Kong in November 2019.

“I might be the first non-Chinese citizen to be targeted, but I will not be the last. If I am targeted, any American and any citizen of any nation who speaks out for Hong Kong can, and will be, too,” he mentioned.

The nationwide safety regulation carries extraterritorial provisions that say anybody, together with non-Hong Kong residents, may be charged underneath it.

China says the regulation is critical to revive stability and order within the international monetary hub.

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Media captionHong Kong safety regulation: The BBC’s Stephen McDonell explains what it means, and what individuals there assume

Ray Wong, a pro-independence activist who fled to Germany in 2017 and is now in Britain, advised the BBC that the listing of “wanted” exiles had been drawn as much as “intimidate” pro-democracy activists who’re attempting to drum up worldwide assist for his or her trigger.

Lau Hong (often known as Honcques Lau), an 18-year-old now within the UK, first got here to prominence in November 2017 when he brandished a pro-independence banner subsequent to Hong Kong’s chief Carrie Lam.

“Come arrest me in the UK,” he was quoted as telling a journalist on Friday.

Wayne Chan, one other pro-independence activist, is in an undisclosed nation.

“For me, the situation faced by Hong Kongers is even more dangerous than what I face. I can’t think too much about my personal safety,” he advised Reuters information company.