Hong Kong police condemned for issuing cash bounty for exiled democracy activists

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Hong Kong nationwide police issued bounties for eight exiled democracy activists, together with former lawmaker Nathan Law.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong police on Monday positioned $1 million ($127,603) bounties on eight distinguished democracy activists in self-imposed exile, in a transfer strongly condemned by rights teams and Western governments.

The activists, together with former lawmakers Nathan Law, Dennis Kwok and Ted Hui, have been accused of violating nationwide safety offenses starting from collusion with overseas forces to subversion of state energy.

After leaving Hong Kong in recent times, most of the activists have continued to talk out towards what they are saying is Beijing’s crackdown on their dwelling metropolis’s freedoms and autonomy.

The group of seven males and one lady are actually primarily based within the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia – nations which have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong as a result of considerations of the controversial national security law.

The sweeping regulation was imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong in 2020, after large pro-democracy protests roiled the semi-autonomous metropolis within the earlier 12 months. It criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with overseas powers and carries a most punishment of life imprisonment.

Critics say the laws has been used to crush the town’s opposition motion, overhaul its electoral system, silence its outspoken media and cripple its once-vibrant civil society. Many of Hong Kong’s distinguished pro-democracy figures have both been detained or fled into self-imposed exile.

The Hong Kong authorities has repeatedly denied the nationwide safety regulation is suppressing freedoms. Instead, it insists the regulation has ended chaos and restored stability to the town.

On Monday, police advised a press convention 260 folks had been arrested below the nationwide safety regulation, with 79 of them convicted for offenses together with subversion and terrorism.

Senior Superintendent Steve Li, with the police nationwide safety division, advised reporters police had obtained arrest warrants from the court docket for the eight activists.

“We’re absolutely not staging any show or spreading terror. We’re enforcing the law,” he stated.

The transfer was condemned by the United States, Britain and Australia, whose governments urged Hong Kong to withdraw the bounty provide and expressed concern in regards to the concentrating on of democratic figures.

The non-profit group Human Rights Watch additionally lambasted the nationwide safety regulation as making a “veneer of legitimacy in wiping out Hong Kong people’s human rights,” urging democratic governments to supply higher protections to activists in exile or impose extra sanctions on the Hong Kong authorities.

The metropolis’s chief, John Lee, a former police officer and safety chief, rebuked these criticisms on Tuesday – and warned the exiled activists to give up themselves or face “living in fear every day.”

Kevin Yam, a lawyer who’s among the many eight focused, stated he had been “flooded with congratulations” for having the “honor to be on the list” for the reason that police press convention Monday.

“I feel no joy over this, but feel sad for Hong Kong that people now see things this way, because it is an indication of how low Hong Kong has gone in the eyes of many,” he advised CNN from Australia.

Law, now primarily based in Britain, stated in an announcement that whereas the information was hectic and meant he’d should be extra cautious whereas touring, it didn’t come as a shock. He criticized the nationwide safety regulation as getting used to “suppress dissenting voices,” and reiterated his hope for Hong Kong to sooner or later acquire full democracy.

“I am just a Hong Konger speaking out for Hong Kongers – that’s all,” he stated, and urged the general public to not cooperate with the bounty provide. “We should not silence or limit ourselves, we should not be politically intimidated or blackmailed, or live in fear.”

Anna Kwok, additionally one of many exiled activists named on Monday, wrote on Twitter that the picture revealed by police was one she’d taken at 18 years previous for her ID card.

“The 18-year-old me would never have thought the photo would be publicized globally in an arrest warrant (with a bounty) 8 years later,” she wrote.

In an extended assertion, Kwok, who’s now primarily based within the US, stated the transfer was “clearly” meant to intimidate pro-democracy supporters and encourage “further purges” of remaining activists.

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