As many as 50 Hong Kong opposition figures had been arrested Wednesday beneath a brand new nationwide safety regulation within the largest operation but towards Beijing’s critics, deepening a police crackdown sweeping the monetary hub.
Opposition figures and events took to their Fb and Twitter accounts to substantiate no less than 21 arrests, most on a cost of “subversion”.
Two senior police sources who each requested anonymity instructed AFP “round 50” had been arrested by the town’s new nationwide safety unit.
The operation netted a swathe of opposition figures, from veteran former pro-democracy lawmakers reminiscent of James To, Andrew Wan and Lam Cheuk Ting to a bunch of youthful activists.
Among the many youth campaigners who confirmed their arrests through Fb had been Gwyneth Ho, a 30-year-old former journalist turned social activist, and Tiffany Yuen, a 27-year-old district councillor.
Colleagues of Joshua Wong, one of many metropolis’s most well-known democracy activists who’s at present in jail, stated through his official Fb account that his house was searched by nationwide safety police in the identical operation.
Hong Kong police didn’t reply to requests for touch upon what number of had been arrested and why.
Opposition figures stated the arrests had been linked to a main organised by pro-democracy events final 12 months forward of native legislative elections which had been in the end scrapped.
Greater than 600,000 Hong Kongers turned out to vote within the unofficial main, which was geared toward selecting who would stand for election in Hong Kong’s legislature—a physique the place solely half the 70 seats are popularly elected.
The purpose of the marketing campaign was to win all 35 elected seats and take a majority within the legislature for the primary time.
On the time, Beijing officers had warned that campaigning to win a majority constituted “subversion” beneath the brand new safety regulation.
That regulation was imposed on the town in late June in response to 2019’s enormous and infrequently violent pro-democracy protests when hundreds of thousands took to the streets.
The broadly worded regulation bypassed the town’s legislature and was saved secret till the second it was enacted.
Officers stated the regulation would solely goal an “excessive minority” and was wanted to revive order.
Nevertheless it swiftly silenced dissent and outlawed sure peaceable political beliefs within the metropolis with dozens of outstanding figures arrested even earlier than Wednesday’s operation.
Nationwide safety crimes carry a most of life in jail and bail will not be often granted for many who are charged.