Crime & Justice

Over 200 detained since Beijing security law enforced in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, Oct 21 (EFE).- More than 200 people in Hong Kong have been arrested under a sweeping national security law since Beijing imposed it on the former British colony about 2.5 years ago.

Unveiling the latest data on Hong Kong’s law and order situation Thursday evening, the city’s police force indicated that between June 30, 2020, and the end of September 2022, a total of 210 people were arrested under the national security law, and half of them have been charged.

Meanwhile, a “counter-terrorism reporting hotline” received over 6,800 messages since its inception in June 2022.

The national security law, which carries a heavy sentence of up to life imprisonment, was promulgated by Beijing to criminalize secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

The promulgation came one year after a widespread anti-government protest movement broke out in Hong Kong in June 2019, lasting for about seven months. Beijing has blamed foreign forces for the increasingly violent protests.

This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the 20th National Congress of Chinese Communist Party that Hong Kong had gone from “chaos to governance” and that stability had been restored under the leadership of the Chinese government.

Among those arrested under the national security law are dozens of high-profile pro-democracy politicians, lawmakers and activists, including media mogul Jimmy Lai, human rights defender Chow Hang-tung, and 90-year-old Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen. Zen was arrested in May but was later charged for a lesser offence unrelated to the security law.

The outspoken newspapers Apple Daily and Stand News are among the companies that have been charged.

According to the online media outlet Hong Kong In-media, about 85% of those charged under the security law have been refused bail, and many have been detained for months pending trial. For ordinary Hongkongers arrested under the law, the youngest are aged 15.

In the past three years, Hong Kong has been suffering its biggest loss of residents to emigration in decades, raising concerns over brain drain in one of the most westernized, capitalistic cities in Asia. This week, the city’s top leader John Lee noted that Hong Kong has seen a decline in local workforce by about 140,000 in the past two years. EFE


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