Hong Kong Police Arrest Another Person Accused of Supporting Overseas Activists

HONG KONG—Hong Kong police on Thursday arrested another person accused of supporting overseas activists who allegedly endangered national security, in a further expansion of a government clampdown on pro-democracy dissidents.

Police detained the 24-year-old man at the city’s airport a day after four other people were arrested for allegedly using companies, social media and mobile applications to receive funds for the overseas activists.

“Investigation revealed that the arrested person was suspected of having connection with the group of persons arrested yesterday,” police said in a statement. It did not identify the five suspects.

Local media, including the South China Morning Post and pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po, identified the newly arrested man as Chu Yan-ho, a former member of the now-defunct pro-democracy party Demosisto, which was co-founded by British-based activist Nathan Law.

They said the four others are also former Demosisto members, including ex-chairperson Ivan Lam. The Associated Press could not confirm the identities of the five.

The arrests came after police obtained arrest warrants for eight overseas-based activists, including Law, under a Beijing-imposed National Security Law and offered rewards of 1 million Hong Kong dollars ($127,600) for information leading to each of their arrests.

The rewards are the first under the law, which was enacted in 2020 following massive pro-democracy protests.

The arrest warrants for the eight quickly drew criticism from Western governments, which took issue with the extraterritorial application of the security law. But Hong Kong leader John Lee said the eight, who live in the United States, Australia, Canada and Britain, will be pursued for life.

The moves further escalated Beijing’s broad crackdown on dissidents under the tough security law. National security authorities have arrested more than 260 people, including many of the city’s leading pro-democracy activists.

Local media say the people arrested Wednesday used a mobile application called “Mee,” which shares information about pro-democracy businesses, to secure funds to support Law. The South China Morning Post said Chu also worked for “Mee.”

A check by the AP on Friday found the application is no longer available on App Store and Google Play.

The police statement on Thursday said the newly arrested man was detained on suspicion of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces and commit acts with seditious intent. It said the authorities do not rule out further arrests.

Many prominent young activists were members of Demosisto, which had been led by Law and former student leader Joshua Wong. It was disbanded on June 30, 2020, the same day the security law was enacted.

By Kanis Leung

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