In a sweeping crackdown on opposition, police in Hong Kong on Wednesday arrested more than 50 pro-democracy figures for allegedly violating the stringent new national security law, according to political parties and local media. Those arrested on suspicion of subversion included U.S. citizen John Clancey, an attorney and human rights advocate at the Ho Tse Wai & Partners law firm in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s highest court on Monday ruled the city’s government had the right to invoke colonial-era emergency powers last year to ban the wearing of masks at all public processions and meetings during the height of 2019’s protests. During the anti-government protests which have largely died down, many demonstrators wore masks to hide their identities from authorities and to protect themselves from tear gas.
Hong Kong democracy activist and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, 73, has been charged under the city’s national security law on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces, his Apple Daily newspaper reported on Friday, citing a police source. Lai, an ardent critic of Beijing, would be the highest profile person charged under the sweeping new law imposed on the Chinese-ruled city in June.
Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy activist whose Apple Daily newspaper was raided by police earlier this year, has been denied bail after being charged with fraud. Lai – the owner of Hong Kong tabloid and founder of Next Digital Media – will be held on remand until his next court date in April next year.
Hong Kong has plunged further into crisis as a new law imposed by Beijing allowing the disqualification of “unpatriotic” opposition members prompted the entire pro-democracy caucus to announce their resignation. Minutes after the disqualifying legislation was announced by Chinese state media, the Hong Kong government released a statement disqualifying four pro-democracy legislators. “The political rule that Hong Kong must be governed by patriots shall be firmly guarded,” the Hong Kong liaison office said.`
Two Hong Kong opposition lawmakers are among 16 people arrested over anti-government protests, as a crackdown on democracy supporters widens. Lam Cheuk-ting and Ted Hui Chi-fung from the Democratic Party were arrested at their homes on Wednesday morning. These latest arrests come two weeks after police arrested media tycoon and vocal Beijing critic Jimmy Lai under a controversial national security law that China recently imposed on Hong Kong.
One of Hong Kong’s most strident pro-democracy figures has been arrested and the newspaper he runs searched by police in a stark escalation by authorities enforcing new national security laws brought in by Beijing. The raid on Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy daily paper, and arrest of Jimmy Lai and senior executives, were condemned by activists and journalists, who said they marked “the day press freedom officially died”.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Friday postponed a Sept. 6 election for the city’s legislature for a year because of a spike in novel coronavirus cases, dealing a blow to the pro-democracy opposition hoping to make gains in the vote. The opposition had aimed to ride a wave of resentment of a new national security law, that Beijing imposed on the city on June 30, to win a majority in the Legislative Council.
Hong Kong police have arrested four people aged 16-21 for suspected offenses under the city’s new national security law, the first such detentions outside of street protests since the legislation took effect a month ago. A police spokesman said the three men and a woman, all students, were suspected of being involved in an online group that pledged to use every means to fight for an independent Hong Kong.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus and urged people to stay indoors as much as possible as strict new measures to curb the disease’s spread take effect on Wednesday. The new regulations ban gatherings of more than two people, close dining in restaurants and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors.