National security law: Hongkongers tell US Congress it’s the end of ‘one country, two systems’

03-Jul-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Three Hong Kong customs officers on Thursday faced being suspended from duty after their arrest during protests against the national security law a day earlier, the Post has learned.

The threat of disciplinary action from a “furious” customs chief came after it was revealed separately that police had boarded a Britain-bound plane at Hong Kong International Airport to arrest a man for stabbing an officer during the unrest.

Pro-democracy protesters Wednesday outside the Times Square in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Photo: Winson Wong

Pro-democracy protesters Wednesday outside the Times Square in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Photo: Winson Wong

A law enforcement source said the arrest of the trio for unlawful assembly outraged the Customs and Excise Department commissioner Hermes Tang Yi-Hoi, who warned illegal acts would not be tolerated.

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It is understood the department will shortly issue a notice reminding all colleagues to abide by the law.

On Wednesday, thousands defied a ban on the annual July 1 rally marking the city’s 1997 handover to Chinese rule to take to the streets against Beijing’s national security law newly imposed on Hong Kong.

Unveiled on Tuesday and taking effect immediately, the legislation lists four categories of offences secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security.

Since the anti-government protests erupted last summer, initially over the now-withdrawn extradition bill, the administration has repeatedly warned civil servants not to take part in them, issuing reminders to remain politically neutral while being “totally loyal” to the chief executive.

The 24-year-old suspect arrested at the airport early on Thursday is accused of using a sharp object to attack the officer as the force dispersed July 1 protesters in Causeway Road, near Hing Fat Street in Tin Hau, at about 4pm on Wednesday.

Without any luggage to check in, he bought a ticket to Britain at 6pm on Wednesday for a flight expected to take off from Hong Kong later that night, a police source said.

Another police insider said the arrest was made an hour after receiving an anonymous report about the suspect’s travel plans.

The insider said officers boarded the Cathay Pacific flight to arrest the man in the moments before the plane’s doors were due to close. The flight’s scheduled departure time was said to be about 11.55pm.

A relative tipped off the authorities about the suspect’s planned departure, according to a local media report.

Plain-clothes officers on the aircraft tried to find him but he was not in his seat and did not respond to aircrew calling out his name. He was eventually located after a sweep of the plane.

The man, surnamed Wong, was then arrested at the airport and has been detained for investigation.

Police on Wednesday arrested some 370 people, at least 10 of them for allegedly violating the new law.

At least four officers were injured by radicals during the protests, police said.

“An officer was stabbed in the arm by rioters holding sharp objects when he was taking arrest action,” police said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

“While the bystanders offered no helping hand, suspects fled. The police express the strongest condemnation against such a violent act.”

The officer is said to be in a stable condition at Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan.



Category: Hong Kong

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