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After Failed Escape: Arrests in Hong Kong | Free press

Hong Kong (AP) – Hong Kong police have arrested 11 people, including an opposition district council, on suspicion of helping people escape.

According to media reports, the arrests on Thursday are linked to the failed escape of 12 activists in a boat to Taiwan. The refugees were picked up by the Chinese Coast Guard in August as they were about to escape to free and democratic Taiwan

Instead of returning to Hong Kong, they were transferred to China, where ten of them were sentenced to seven months to three years in prison in December in the South China city of Shenzhen. Two minors were handed over to the Hong Kong police. Since then, investigators have been looking for supporters to help the “Hong Kong 12,” as they are known, in their escape.

According to reports, among those arrested there is Kowloon District Attorney Daniel Wong Kwok-tung, who in the past provided legal support to protesters arrested in Hong Kong. He was also behind a campaign to create a coffee shop in Taiwan to provide jobs for Hong Kong residents in exile.

The 11 arrested are accused of “helping criminals,” the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing a police source. Among them are eight men and three women between the ages of 18 and 72, according to the public broadcaster RTHK.

The action by authorities in China’s Special Administrative Region follows the arrest of 53 members of the pro-democracy opposition last week, citing the new security law in force since July. It targets activities that Beijing views as subversive, separatist, terrorist or conspiratorial.

The law passed by Beijing, overriding the Hong Kong Legislative Council, has met with sharp criticism in China’s Special Administrative Region and internationally for being seen as a violation of the joint agreements when the British became Crown Colony in 1997. sent back to China.

Since then, Hong Kong has been governed as a separate area according to the “one country, two systems” principle. In fact, the agreements then envisaged that the seven million Hong Kongers would enjoy “a high degree of autonomy” and many political freedoms by 2047. But since the security law was passed, many have only said, “One country, one system.”

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