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Hong Kong police have a $1 million arrest warrant for eight activists, and Nathan Law is worried about security threats

Posted by on 2023/07/05. Filed under Breaking News,Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

A pro-democracy activist who fled Hong Kong has told the BBC that his personal safety is becoming more dangerous because the authorities have put a reward on his head.

Nathan Law, who now lives in Britain, is one of eight exiled activists wanted by Hong Kong police.

Hong Kong authorities have offered a reward of HK $1m (£100,581; $127,637) to collect information that would lead to their arrest.

Mr Law said he needed to be “more careful” about revealing his whereabouts because of the reward.

The eight targeted activists have been charged with colluding with a foreign power – a crime punishable by life in prison. The offence is an offence under Hong Kong’s draconian national security law, which was implemented three years ago following mass pro-democracy protests in 2019.

James Cleverly, foreign secretary, said Britain “will not tolerate any attempt by China to intimidate and silence individuals in the UK and abroad”.

“We call on Beijing to revoke the National Security Law and on the Hong Kong authorities to stop targeting those who stand up for freedom and democracy,” he said in a statement.

Hundreds of democracy activists have been arrested and convicted in Hong Kong under national security laws.

Beijing has said the law is needed to bring stability to the city, but critics say it is aimed at suppressing dissent.

All eight of those named in the announcement live in the UK, US or Australia – countries that do not have extradition treaties with China.

Lee Kwai-wah, chief superintendent of the Hong Kong Police’s National Security Division, said the offence was “very serious”.

He acknowledged that Hong Kong police could not arrest them if they stayed abroad, but said they would not stop enforcing the law.

Mr. Law is one of the leading figures in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement. He said that while he felt “relatively safe” in Britain, he had to be more cautious after news of the reward was made public.

“It is possible that someone in the UK – or anywhere else – will provide some information about me [to the Hong Kong authorities]. For example, my whereabouts, and they may be able to extradite me when I am in transit in certain countries,” Mr Law said.

“All of these things can put my life in jeopardy if I’m not careful about what I see or where I go. It makes me have to live a more careful life.”

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In a post on Twitter, Mr Law urged others not to co-operate with authorities on the matter, saying: “We should not limit ourselves, self-censor, be intimidated or live in fear.”

Another exiled activist on the wanted list, Kwok Fung-yee, executive director of the Hong Kong Democratic Committee, echoed that view, saying the reward was intended to threaten her and other activists.

“We are united in our fight for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, our home,” she said in a statement.

Liu Zudi, who is also wanted, told the BBC that the reward could encourage pro-Beijing “little pink” people overseas to physically attack or harass them.

Mr Law said he was not too worried about his future in the long term.

“At the end of the day, I very much doubt how a country with a strong rule of law system would cooperate or cooperate with the Hong Kong government to extradite any of us, because this is clearly a political crime and a violation of our basic human rights.”

Penny Wong, Australia’s foreign minister, said the government was “deeply disappointed” by the reward announcement, adding that Australia “remains deeply concerned about the continued erosion of human rights, freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong”.

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