- Police say group’s members advocated secession online
- Move comes amid growing speculation election will be postponed
Hong Kong police said officers arrested four more people under the city’s Beijing-drafted national security law, amid increasing speculation that authorities would ask for China’s help to delay upcoming legislative elections.
The Hong Kong Police Force said it had arrested four suspects, including three males and one female aged 16 to 21, in connection with publishing content online in July inciting others to commit secession. “Police remind the public that the cyber world of the Internet is not a virtual space beyond the law,” it said.
Those arrested included former Studentlocalism convener Tony Chung Hon-lam, the organization said on Twitter. The people were detained at police stations in northwestern Hong Kong and were denied bail, the group said.
Pro-democracy activists Sunny Cheung and Ventus Lau said on their Facebook pages that the arrests may be related to the “Initiative Independence Party,” which was set up by overseas members of Studentlocalism. The group, whose Facebook page now has more than 600 likes, declared it will “fight using any means possible in order to expel Chinese colonizers from our land.”
The arrests bring to 15 the number of Hong Kong residents taken in under the sweeping security law, which China imposed on the former British colony on June 30 after losing patience with the local government’s failure to pass similar legislation. Authorities have indicated that its broadly worded provisions against subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces could cover non-violent actions common in protests that rocked the city last year.