Hong Kong Police Arrest Three Student Activists For 'Inciting Subversion'

Police say snacks and personal items stored for donation to prisoners are intended to incite 'hatred' of the government.
By Wanessa Law
2021.09.20
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Hong Kong Police Arrest Three Student Activists For 'Inciting Subversion' Student Politicism founder Wong Yat-chin is shown in a July 14, 2021 photo.
AFP

Hong Kong police on Monday arrested three members of the Student Politicism group on subversion charges under a draconian national security law imposed on the city by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), accusing its members of trying to bring down the regime.

Among the arrestees were convenor Wong Yat-chin and secretary general Chan Chi-sum, the group said in a brief statement on its Facebook page.

The Hong Kong Baptist University student union editorial board named the third arrestee as Jessica Chu, a former spokesperson for Student Politicism who is no longer a member of the group, according to a screenshot posted to Twitter by Agence France-Presse correspondent Xinqi Su.

Police confirmed they had arrested three suspects aged between 18 and 20 for carrying out "subversive acts" including warning people not to use the government's LeaveHomeSafe COVID-19 tracking app, and "inciting hatred of the government" via street booths.

Wong was shown in media footage posted by the Oriental Daily news website, being led away in handcuffs from the group's headquarters in Kwai Chung district, and being taken away in an unmarked grey people carrier.

National security police raided the premises, seizing boxes of goods intended for prison inmates, including chocolates, sanitary products, and crackers, Hong Kong-based translator KTse852 said via their Twitter account.

Senior police superintendent Steve Li told reporters that the group had been imposing its political beliefs on others, and inciting them to overthrow the governments of Hong Kong and mainland China.

Li said the group's goal in sending goods to inmates was to enlist them to aid these efforts, and accused him of exhorting followers to "practice martial arts for when the revolution comes."

"That ... is clearly resistance aimed at the Hong Kong authorities and the CCP government," Li said, accusing the group of intensifying its political activism with street booths in Mong Kok.

The national security law, which has ushered in a city-wide crackdown on peaceful protest and political opposition since it took effect on July 1, 2020, criminalizes contact with and funding from overseas politicians and foundations, public criticism of the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, as well as opposition activism, which is deemed a bid to overthrow the existing political order.

Forty-seven former democratic lawmakers and activists are currently awaiting trial on "subversion" charges under the national security law after taking part in a democratic primary in 2020 that was designed to maximize the number of LegCo seats won by the opposition.

The targeting of Student Politicism comes after prisoner support group Wall-fare announced it would disband after secretary for security and former police chief Chris Tang accused "certain groups" of endangering national security" in prisons by writing to inmates and "soliciting followers" with gifts of chocolates, hairpins, and other items, making them "hate the government."

It was the latest in a line of civil society groups to disband following public denunciation by officials or by CCP-backed media.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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