A Hong Kong activist has been detained by plain-clothed police officers near the US consulate. Tony Chung had planned to enter the consulate on Tuesday and claim asylum, the UK-based activist group Friends of Hong Kong said, he was arrested along with two other former members of a student pro-independence group.
Mr Chung, 19, was the first public figure arrested under a controversial new national security law in July, he was accused of being involved in an organisation that vowed to fight for an independent Hong Kong and later released on bail. Hong Kong’s national security law, imposed in June, makes secession, subversion of the central government, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces punishable by up to life in prison. It has been widely condemned across the world, with critics saying it ends freedoms guaranteed for 50 years after British rule ended in Hong Kong in 1997, a number of pro-independence groups disbanded after the law was introduced.
According to the South China Morning Post, Mr Chung was at a coffee shop opposite the consulate when he was detained on Tuesday morning, footage taken from near the consulate shows the teenager being carried away by people dressed in casual clothing. Group Studentlocalism said three of it’s former members including Tony Chung were detained by officers at the scene. Police said the arrest was part of an ongoing investigation.
In a recent interview with BBC Chinese, Mr Chung had said “Beijing is winning at this stage now”. “With the imposed national security law, pro-independence activists are leaving Hong Kong”. Protesters are afraid to chant political slogans, but he also said activists had not given up. “At the right moment, we will come out to protest again,” he said. Yes we lose at this moment, but the road to democracy is always long, hours after Mr Chung’s arrest, unconfirmed media reports said four activists managed to enter the US consulate but were later turned away.
The US consulate has not responded to enquires from several news agencies.