NewsHong Kong mass arrest: US sanctions 6 officials for...

Hong Kong mass arrest: US sanctions 6 officials for their role in arrests under new security law

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Washington (US): The United States on Friday (local time) designated six Chinese and Hong Kong officials for their role in implementing the National Security Law imposed in Hong Kong.

According to an official statement issued by the State Department, “On January 6, Hong Kong authorities arrested more than 50 people in an appalling crackdown on pro-democracy politicians and activists who were trying to advance fair and open primary elections for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.

Thirteen former Legislative Council members, an American lawyer, and a former law professor were among those reportedly detained before being released on bail.”

The officials designated include You Quan, Vice Chairman of the Central Leading Group on Hong Kong and Macau Affairs; Sun Wenqing AKA Sun Qingye, Deputy Director of the Office for Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR; and Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

They have been designated “for being or having been leaders or officials of entities, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, developing, adopting, or implementing the National Security Law,” the department said.

Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State further said, “The Department is designating Frederic Choi Chin-Pang, Kelvin Kong Hok Lai, and Andrew Kan Kai Yan, officials in the National Security Division of the Hong Kong Police, for being foreign persons who are or have been leaders or officials of an entity, including any government entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning individuals under the authority of, or in developing, adopting, or implementing, the NSL. All of these designations are pursuant to section 4(a)(iii)(A) of E.O. 13936 — “The President’s Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization.”

He also called on the Chinese and Hong Kong officials to release people who have been ” targeted under the NSL or other laws simply for exercising rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Basic Law and Joint Declaration, and to dismiss the charges against them”.

On January 6, over 50 opposition lawmakers and activists were arrested on suspicion of violating the national security law, for their part in a primary election run-off last July.

Among the arrested were former lawmakers James To Kun-sun, Lam Cheuk-ting, Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, and Wu Chi-wai, as well as pollster Dr. Robert Chung Ting-yiu, who helped organize the event, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

Most of those had organized or taken part in primary contests held by the pan-democratic camp last July as part of a “35-plus” strategy to maximize its chances of taking control of the 70-member legislature.

The 35-plus strategy was drafted by Occupy co-founder and law academic Benny Tai Yiu-ting in March last year. Its aim is to gain a majority in the Legislative Council election (35 seats or more), and then vote down the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s budget twice, if possible, SCMP reported.

The national security law was implemented in Hong Kong in June last year.

According to the national security law, a principal offender convicted of subversion faces imprisonment of 10 years to life, while an “active participant” can be sentenced to between three and 10 years’ jail, while a minor can face a fixed term of not more than three years’ imprisonment or short-term detention or restriction. 

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