Bounties on five foreign activists in Hong Kong amount to HK$1 million

Bounties on Five Foreign Activists in Hong Kong Amount to HK$1 million

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Bounties on five foreign activists in Hong Kong amount to HK$1 million

Former UK embassy employee Simon Cheng is one of five activists Hong Kong police have bounties on. Image: GETTY IMAGES


Bounties on five foreign activists in Hong Kong amount to HK$1 million.

The police in Hong Kong have put up a prize of one million Hong Kong dollars (about $128k) for information that could lead to the capture of five pro-democracy demonstrators.

Among them is Simon Cheng, a former employee of the UK consulate who was arrested in 2019 in connection with a prominent case.

Frances Hui, Joey Siu, Johnny Fok, and Tony Choi are the remaining members. A violation of the severe National Security Law is alleged by everybody.

Some of the campaigners live in the United States and the United Kingdom, so their home countries were among the first to denounce the move.

Five people are facing many charges, including “inciting secession” and “colluding with foreign forces” that could compromise the country’s security.

“They sold their country and Hong Kong, and neglected the interests of Hongkongers,” stated Li Kwai-wah, Chief Superintendent of the National Security Department, during a press conference. “The National Security Department will pursue them until the end.”

The activists “engaged in activities endangering national security” even after they left the country, according to Mr. Li.

In August 2019, while on a business trip in mainland China, Mr. Cheng was imprisoned for two weeks. There were accusations that the ex-employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong instigated political turmoil in the city.

It was later that year that Mr. Cheng informed the BBC that he had been “shackled, blindfolded and hooded” while in custody.

The 33-year-old eventually gained refuge in the United Kingdom and went on to found Hongkongers in Britain, a nonprofit that provides assistance to Hongkongers relocating to the country.

Being pursued by the secret police of China (Hong Kong), with a one million dollar reward hanging over your head, is an honor that will last a lifetime, Mr. Cheng stated in reaction to the announcement of the bounty.

“If the government considers the pursuit of democracy and freedom a crime, we welcome the accusations as an opportunity to show the true nature of social justice, remaining steadfast in our resistance to authority,” he said on X, the platform that was once known as Twitter.

To paraphrase what Ms. Siu said on X, “I will never be silenced, I will never back down.” The 24-year-old was an integral part of the 2019 Hong Kong protests before escaping to the United States.

“A threat to our democracy and fundamental human rights” is what UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has described the Hong Kong police’s action as.

“We will not tolerate any attempt by any foreign power to intimidate, harass or harm individuals or communities in the UK,” he stated in a statement on Thursday.

Officials in London, Beijing, and Hong Kong were urged by Mr. Cameron to “raise this issue as a matter of urgency with the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities,” he said.

The British embassy of China in Beijing then issued a statement condemning what it called “the UK side’s denigration of the rule of law” in the territory, as well as “its harboring of those on the wanted list and intervention in Hong Kong-related affairs—in reaction.

United States Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller criticized the action, calling it a “blatant disregard” for global standards.

“We deplore any attempt to apply the Beijing-imposed national security law extraterritorially and reiterate that Hong Kong authorities have no jurisdiction within United States borders,” according to him.

After receiving outrage from throughout the world, Hong Kong said eight additional activists will be receiving similar prizes in July.

Authorities have apprehended other individuals accused of helping them, but none of them have been arrested yet.

Former Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law is among the first group of activists sought for questioning; he was arrested in 2014 for his role in the pro-democracy Umbrella Protests.

Hong Kong should end the bounties and free the people accused of helping the exiled activists, according to human rights group Amnesty International, which made the request on Thursday.

“These bounties not only threaten the liberty and safety of the activists targeted, but they also have far-reaching consequences on other activists who are now left feeling increasingly uncertain about their security, whether in Hong Kong or overseas,” stated Sarah Brooks, the group’s deputy regional director for China.

“Protect them against long-arm persecution by the Hong Kong authorities for simply exercising their human rights,” she pleaded with the home nations of the activists in question.

The contentious National Security Law in Hong Kong has resulted in the detention of nearly 300 individuals. Jimmy Lai, a media magnate from Hong Kong, is among those on trial on Monday on charges of conspiring with foreign powers, allegedly including the United States.

If proven guilty, the 76-year-old creator of the defunct Apple Daily newspaper faces the possibility of a life term in jail.

Prominent activists from the city, such Joshua Wong and Benny Tai, are among the 47 individuals on trial at the moment.

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