Hong Kong police are reportedly investigating the group that organises an annual protest march marking the semi-autonomous territory’s handover to China for doable violation of the nationwide safety legislation.
Police are gathering proof and will take motion in opposition to the Civil Human Rights Entrance, which holds the July 1 march every year and in addition organised among the greater political protests that roiled town in 2019, Police Commissioner, Raymond Siu Chak-yee, informed Ta Kung Pao newspaper in an interview printed Friday.
Siu informed the newspaper that the group by no means formally registered with the federal government nor the police because it was established in 2002. “Anybody who violates the legislation, they higher not suppose they’ll escape,” Siu was quoted as saying.
A spokesperson for the Hong Kong Police Division didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Crackdown on dissent
The group could be the newest goal of a sweeping crackdown on dissent that has adopted Beijing’s imposition of the nationwide safety legislation on the territory final 12 months. The laws outlaws secession, subversion, terrorism and overseas collusion and has been used to arrest greater than 100 pro-democracy figures because it was first carried out a 12 months in the past in addition to the closure of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Each day.
The crackdown has just about silenced opposition voices within the metropolis — and drawn sanctions from the US in opposition to Hong Kong and Chinese language authorities officers.
The South China Morning Put up newspaper reported Friday that the Civil Human Rights Entrance had determined to disband, however didn’t publicly announce the choice. The group didn’t reply to requests for remark via their social media websites, whereas a public electronic mail for the group returned an error message.
The group organized large protests in June 2019 in opposition to a proposed extradition legislation that might have allowed suspects in Hong Kong to face trial in mainland China, the place the judicial system is opaque and sometimes criticized as abusive. The proposed legislation was seen as additional infringement from Beijing on the freedoms the previous British colony was promised it might keep following the 1997 handover.
Though the proposed invoice was finally withdrawn, the huge protests later burgeoned into broader requires better democratic freedoms, resulting in months of demonstrations that at instances turned violent between police and protesters.
Because the nationwide safety legislation was enacted, many unions, associations and political organizations have disbanded amid considerations that the legislation may very well be used to focus on them. The town’s largest academics’ union — extensively seen as pro-democracy — disbanded earlier this week, citing drastic modifications within the political panorama.
Siu stated within the interview that the Civil Human Rights Entrance had held a number of rallies up to now 12 months that probably violated the safety legislation, whilst authorities beforehand stated that the nationwide safety legislation was not retroactive.
The group was beforehand a part of a police probe in April over the legality of their operations.
A number of the most distinguished members of the Civil Human Rights Entrance, together with former leaders Figo Chan and Jimmy Sham, are at present in jail on costs associated to their activism.
Chan was convicted of organising an unauthorized meeting, whereas Sham has been remanded in custody since March over his involvement in an unofficial major election final 12 months that the authorities say was a part of a plot to paralyse the federal government.