Hong Kong: Police issue ‘absurd’ cash bounties on overseas activists

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Five exiled pro-democracy activists become latest targeted by large bounties

Four people arrested accused of assisting exiled activists

UK-based activist Simon Cheng among those place under a £100,000 bounty

’The Hong Kong authorities’ systematic dismantling of human rights has officially gone global’ - Sarah Brooks

Responding to the Hong Kong police placing bounties of HK$1m (£100,468) on five overseas pro-democracy activists - as well as arresting four people accused of assisting exiled activists targeted in a previous round of bounties - Sarah Brooks, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for China, said:

"This is further confirmation that the Hong Kong authorities’ systematic dismantling of human rights has officially gone global.

“The brazen tactic of placing ‘Wild West’-style bounties on activists’ heads seems to be emerging as a method of choice to silence dissent.

“These bounties not only threaten the liberty and safety of the activists targeted - they also have far-reaching consequences on other activists who are now left feeling increasingly uncertain about their security, whether in Hong Kong or overseas. The bounties only compound the already-existing climate of fear.

“The placement of a bounty under the guise of national security charges is an act of intimidation that transcends borders and aims to silence dissent everywhere. The Hong Kong authorities must withdraw these absurd and dangerous bounties immediately, and release all those accused of assisting exiled activists.

“Amnesty calls on the host countries of the overseas activists targeted to protect them against this long-arm persecution by the Hong Kong authorities.”

Thirteen now the target of bounties

The Hong Kong police have placed bounties on Simon Cheng, Frances Hui, Joey Siu, Johnny Fok and Tony Choi, with the five accused of “inciting secession” and “collusion with foreign forces” under Hong Kong’s notorious National Security Law, a crime that can carry a sentence of life in prison. It means there are now bounties on a total of 13 “fugitives” wanted in Hong Kong national security cases. On 3 July, the authorities put bounties of HK$1m on eight others: activists Nathan Law, Anna Kwok and Finn Lau, former lawmakers Dennis Kwok and Ted Hui, lawyer and legal scholar Kevin Yam, unionist Mung Siu-tat and online commentator Yuan Gong-yi.

The eight, all of whom are in self-imposed exile in either the USA, the UK or Australia, are also accused of “colluding with foreign forces”. Two of the 13 targeted are citizens in the countries where they now reside - Kevin Yam in Australia and Joey Siu in the USA. In Hong Kong, national security police today also arrested four people on suspicion of providing financial assistance to Ted Hui and Nathan Law through an online crowdfunding platform.

Dramatic deterioration

Since the National Security Law came into effect in June 2020, the human rights situation in Hong Kong has deteriorated dramatically, with the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association among the rights under sustained attack. The Hong Kong authorities describe international exchange of which they disapprove as “collusion with foreign forces”, while the police frequently label benign day-to-day interaction between activists and foreign nationals as acts that can potentially endanger national security.

 

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