Hong Kong | Four student leaders from a major Hong Kong university were arrested Wednesday on charges of “advocating terrorism,” police said.
A controversial statement issued in July by a student union after a policeman was stabbed by a man acting alone is behind the arrests, said Steve Li, of the new police unit in charge of implementation. of the National Security Act.
“Four men between the ages of 18 and 20 were arrested today, they are members of the student union and the student union council,” he told reporters.
On July 1, a 50-year-old attacked a policeman with a knife before turning the gun on him and killing himself. The authorities considered this act to be “internal terrorism”.
Shortly thereafter, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) student union issued a statement expressing its “deep sadness” after the assailant’s death and gratitude for his “sacrifice”.
This press release sparked a great deal of controversy. The union has since retracted and apologized for the terms used.
“He sublimated, rationalized and glorified terrorism and an attack as well as encouraged suicidal acts,” Li said.
In July, police raided union offices, the university’s television station and a student office.
The HKU leadership also banned access to the campus for all union board members.
Apologia for terrorism is punishable by ten years in prison and falls under the Hong Kong National Security Act, imposed last year by Beijing in response to the massive pro-democracy movement of 2019.
This draconian law aims to punish subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Terrorism charges have so far been rarer.
Last year, more than 30 unions and political parties were dissolved following investigations by the authorities.
On Wednesday, the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund became the latest among organizations supporting pro-democracy protesters to announce its disbandment. Pro-Beijing media called it a “fundraising platform for thugs” and called for its demise.
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