Hong Kong police arrest three members of student prisoner-support group By Reuters
© Reuters. After police searched a Student Politicism warehouse in Hong Kong (China), September 20, 2021, a mover is seen collecting a box full of books. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong police arrested on Monday three members of a pro-democracy student group, accusing them of a “conspiracy to incite subversion” including by helping deliver snacks to prisoners with the aim of recruiting followers.
Hong Kong police arrested over 100 individuals under the national security law Beijing placed on the ex-British colony last June. It is a controversial measure that critics claim erodes freedoms that were promised to China when the country returned to Chinese control in 1997.
Beijing and Hong Kong government insist that the law is needed to protect Hong Kong’s economic prosperity and prevent outside interference.
Steve Li, Senior Police Superintendent, said that two people aged between 18 and 20 were arrested by police for inciting hatred against the government. He also stated that they had encouraged others to ignore the law and undermine state power. They were not identified by him.
Li claimed that a student group called Student Politicism set up booths on the streets to promote hate speech against government officials. He also advised people to not use the government’s app to track the spread of coronavirus.
Police raided the group’s warehouse and seized large quantities of sweets, surgical masks, biscuits, lotion, and books – all items on a list of goods prisoners are allowed to receive from outside – as evidence.
Li said that democracy activists used the items in order to gain support from prison guards.
Li explained that although helping prisoners does not pose a problem, the intentions of those who are using them to do so will determine their motivations.
If the goal is to assist prisoners of the same belief and then recruit supporters… to violate the national security it’s a problem.
Li stated that the group used other slogans, which were illegal under the new law on national security. They also advised people to prepare for “the next revolution”.
On its Facebook page (NASDAQ:), the group stated that Chan Chi-sum and Wong Yatchin, two of its leaders were arrested. It didn’t identify the third individual. The company did not reply to our request for comment.
The Wall-fare prisoners’ rights organization that supplied prisoners with supplies and connected them to pen-pals was defunct last week. Hong Kong Security Chief Chris Tang said inmates use sweets as a way of recruiting followers and threatening national security.
China’s national security law penalizes those who are accused of secession, terrorist acts, and conspiring with foreign forces. This could result in life imprisonment.
Many of the most important pro-democracy activists and politicians in the area are now behind bars. They were either convicted under new laws or have already been sentenced on other charges.
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