Thursday, January 21

Hong Kong: 11 arrested for helping activists flee to Taiwan

Hong Kong | Police arrested 11 people in Hong Kong on Thursday on suspicion of helping a group of activists attempt to flee to Taiwan by boat.

“Eleven people were arrested by the service in charge of national security for” conspiracy to help delinquents “,” a senior police official told AFP.

This policeman confirmed that they are suspected of having contributed, in August, to the attempted flight of 12 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.

Threatened with prosecution in Hong Kong for their involvement in the pro-democracy protests that rocked the city in 2019, they were arrested by Chinese coast guards as they tried to flee to Taiwan.

The arrests come eight days after a massive crackdown that targeted more than fifty Hong Kong opposition figures, arrested in the name of the draconian national security law imposed at the end of June by Beijing on Hong Kong.

Among those arrested Thursday is Daniel Wong, a lawyer who has specialized in the defense of human rights for years and known to be a strong supporter of the pro-democracy movement.

“The national security police arrived at my home at 6:10 am and I don’t know which station they will take me to yet,” Wong wrote on his Facebook page.

The 71-year-old man is also the founder of a restaurant in Taipei that employs and helps Hong Kong people who have fled to the rival island of Beijing.

Willis Ho, a former student leader, confirmed that his mother was among those arrested.

In December, ten of the 12 activists who had tried to flee were sentenced by a Chinese court to terms of up to 3 years in prison for illegally crossing the border.

Two minors, who were also on board the boat, were handed over to the Hong Kong authorities in December. They will face charges of attempted arson and possession of weapons.

This is not the first time that people suspected of helping this group have been arrested.

In October, nine people had been released on bail.

The new law aims to put an end to the vast protest movement that shook this territory in 2019. In particular, it gives the authorities the power to suppress subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with outside forces.

At least 90 people have been arrested under the law, among them press mogul Jimmy Lai and famous activist Joshua Wong.

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