Beijing, Sep 8 (EFE).- Hong Kong police detained four leaders Wednesday of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, who annually organize a vigil on the anniversary of the Jun. 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
The arrest comes a day after the group delivered a letter to the police in which they formally refused to cooperate with authorities, who requested information about finances and activities, on the suspicion that they were “foreign agents.”
Police sources told Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK that those arrested had violated the controversial National Security Law – imposed by Beijing last year – by not providing the information required for an investigation.
The detainees are alliance’s Vice President Chow Hang-tung and members of the Leung Kam-wai group standing committee, Tang Ngok-kwan and Chan Dor-wai.
At 6:41 a.m. local time Wednesday (10:41 GMT on Tuesday), Chow – who is a lawyer – published a video on her Facebook profile in which she said police had arrived at her door and were trying to enter her home.
The arrest occurred about an hour and a half later, when agents managed to access her house. The other three alliance members were arrested at about 07:00 local time (23:00 GMT).
Chow was due to attend a hearing to secure bail for Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam, one of 47 detainees in another National Security Act case involving a pro-democracy opposition primary.
The alliance said police did not explain why the letter requesting information, received Aug. 25, was necessary to prevent and investigate crimes related to national security, nor the nature of the crime under investigation, nor its relationship to the requested data.
“These three points violate the principles of justice,” read the letter delivered Tuesday. “The alliance believes that the issuance of the letter has no legal basis, and therefore we will not provide any requested information.”
Before delivering the reply letter to the police station, Chow asked people to “keep resisting.”
“Don’t give in to unreasonable power, don’t fall into a life where you have to lie and bow every day. Live in your own space, if possible. Live by following your conscience,” Chow told reporters.
Every Jun. 4, between 1990 and 2019, the alliance organized vigils in memory of the Tiananmen massacre, when the Chinese government used the army to violently end several weeks of mass demonstrations in favor of political openness and against corruption.
In 2020 and 2021, Hong Kong authorities banned the vigil on the pretext of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Alliance leaders Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho are in jail for their connection to the anti-government mobilizations that took to the streets of Hong Kong in the second half of 2019.
In 2020, China enacted the controversial National Security Law for Hong Kong, which carries penalties of up to life imprisonment for cases of secession, extremism or collusion with foreign forces, among others. EFE