BREAKING: Hong Kong Student Activists Arrested Under National Security Law

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Posted: Jul 29, 2020 2:10 PM
BREAKING: Hong Kong Student Activists Arrested Under National Security Law

Source: (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Beijing conducted what appears to be the first round of arrests under the National Security Law not related to direct protest activity. Police sought out three former members of the disbanded pro-democracy group Student Localism on Wednesday afternoon local time.

Joshua Wong, a Hong Kong activist, said that Tony Chung, the organization's former convener, had been tracked for several days before his arrest. Authorities accused Chung of "inciting secession" after posting a statement on Facebook criticizing Chinese nationalism. 

Student Localism spokesperson Ho Nok-hang was also arrested around the same time.

About an hour later, police apprehended Yanni Ho, escorting her and her mother out of their house and into a 7-seated police vehicle.

According to a spokesperson for the Hong Kong police, there was a fourth member of the group as well. 

The spokesperson ordered several media representatives to leave the press briefing as "they are not allowed to go live," says AFP reporter Xinqi Su.

He confirmed that three men and one woman between the agres of 16 and 21 were arrested under articles 20 and 21 of the National Security Law.

Article 20 concerns persons indicted for secessionist activities, while article 21 implicates anyone suspected of assisting people convicted under article 20.

When reporters asked whether the new Beijing-based law enforcement institution was involved in the arrests, the spokesperson said they "were purely carried out by our (HK police) national security division and had nothing to do with other organizations." 

He said whether or not the individuals were members of Student Localism, their internet speech advocating for Hong Kong independence would be enough to convict them of "plotting secession." The regular Hong Kong police have jurisdiction to apprehend individuals under the National Security Law, according to the spokesperson.

Student Localism confirmed the arrests:

"They were sent to the police station, and we still don't know what happened to them," said activist Nathan Law on an Instagram Live call with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). He said the law "really targets people's freedom of expression and [makes] Hong Kong into a de facto police state."