As part of a crackdown under a national security law imposed by China, Hong Kong police have offered million-dollar rewards for information leading to the arrest of five activists living abroad, including an American citizen.
In July, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee announced that eight pro-democracy activists living in the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia would be prosecuted for life for alleged national security offences.
Those arrested include former pro-democracy MPs Nathan Law, Ted Hui and Dennis Kwok, lawyer Kevin Yam, trade unionist Mung Siu-tat and activists Finn Lau, Anna Kwok and Elmer Yuen.
The most recent arrest warrants were issued for Johnny Fok and Tony Choi, who host a current affairs-focused YouTube channel, and pro-democracy activists Simon Cheng, Hui Wing-ting and Joey Siu.
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The latest arrest warrants further intensified the Hong Kong government’s crackdown on dissidents following anti-government protests in 2019.
All were charged with violating the Beijing-imposed national security law by committing offenses including colluding with foreign powers and inciting secession, according to authorities.
Since 2020, when the law was ratified, more than 260 people have been arrested.
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Hong Kong’s Security Minister Chris Tang doubled down on the crackdown on the eight activists, saying authorities were seeking to cut access to their finances, including freezing and confiscating their assets.
Cheng wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he accepted the accusations. “To be hunted by China’s (Hong Kong) secret police, with a million dollar reward, is the price of life,” he wrote.
The US State Department said it strongly condemned the actions of Hong Kong authorities and the “hit list” targeting democracy activists abroad, according to the Guardian.
“This shows a flagrant violation of international norms, democracy and human rights,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said at a regular briefing of reporters on Thursday. “We deplore any attempt to apply the Beijing-imposed national security law extraterritorially and reiterate that Hong Kong authorities have no jurisdiction within the borders of the United States, where defenders of democracy and freedom will continue to enjoy their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and their rights”.
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UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron added that he had instructed officials in Hong Kong, Beijing and London to raise the matter urgently with Hong Kong and Chinese authorities.
In a statement released by his office, Cameron said: “We will not tolerate any attempt by any foreign power to intimidate, harass or harm individuals or communities in the UK. This is a threat to our democracy and fundamental human rights “.
The State Department was not immediately available for comment.
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Reuters contributed to this report.