Hong Kong authorities arrest 11 over activists’ tried Taiwan boat escape

The group of activists, often known as the Hong Kong 12, have been captured by Chinese language authorities at sea in August and held incommunicado for months; 10 have been sentenced in December by a Chinese language courtroom to jail phrases of between seven months and three years. The opposite two, each minors on the time of their tried escape, have been returned to Hong Kong and stay in custody.

The sweep of the extra 11 on Thursday in a predawn raid underscored a deepening local weather of concern since Beijing imposed a nationwide safety legislation in June that curtailed political freedoms in Hong Kong. Town’s chief, Carrie Lam, promised that the legislation could be used towards a “very small minority” of individuals, however authorities have wielded their new powers broadly, arresting greater than 100 individuals since then, together with former lawmakers, reasonable activists and others throughout the ranks of civil society.

These detained Thursday embrace a lawyer, Daniel Wong Kwok-tung, who can be a district councilor, a neighborhood elected official. Wong, who helped many protesters arrested throughout anti-government demonstrations in 2019, additionally based a restaurant in Taiwan that employs Hong Kongers dwelling in exile there. A musician, Rono Fok, was additionally amongst these arrested.

Nationwide safety officers performed the arrests, in response to social media posts and pals of these held, however police haven’t but detailed if the alleged crimes fall below the safety legislation.

Individuals beforehand arrested below the safety legislation and others held for politically associated offenses within the metropolis have had their passports confiscated, as authorities fear concerning the affect of the rising variety of Hong Kongers in exile overseas.

Fears concerning the attain of the safety legislation, which targets broadly worded offenses corresponding to secession, subversion, terrorism and international collusion, prompted eating places to take away pro-democracy posters and activists to disband their teams in current months. Within the wake of the legislation, some Hong Kong residents have left the town, fearing persecution. Some arrested for political crimes have skipped bail and reside with out formal authorized standing in Western international locations and Taiwan.

Others, together with the 12 who tried to flee by boat, have tried different technique of escape because the police had already confiscated their passports and journey paperwork.

In response to the crackdown, Western international locations have tried to formalize pathways to residency and asylum for individuals fleeing Hong Kong, notably Britain, Hong Kong’s former colonial ruler.

The British authorities final 12 months supplied an avenue for some 3 million Hong Kong residents by permitting Hong Kongers who maintain a British Nationwide (Abroad) passport, a holdover from the colonial period, to acquire U.Ok. residency and finally citizenship.

The BNO measure will go into impact later this month. Main pro-Beijing figures in Hong Kong have known as for China to take reciprocal motion to punish these leaving, together with probably forcing them to surrender international citizenship.

Theodora Yu contributed to this report.

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