Several members of a pro-democracy Hong Kong organisation have been arrested after their group was accused of working as a “foreign agent”.
The Hong Kong Alliance is known for organising the city’s famed annual vigil for victims of the deadly 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Pro-democracy activist and barrister Chow Hang Tung was among the arrested. The arrests were made under the national security law, which has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Hong Kong police’s national security unit had earlier requested that the Hong Kong Alliance hand over information, reportedly including personal details of all members since the group’s founding and financial records.
On Tuesday, the deadline for the request, the alliance members handed a letter explaining their refusal to cooperate. The next morning, police officers arrested four members of the alliance’s standing committee at their homes or offices.
“We are going to respond, to say that we feel you have no legal grounds for your demands, so we are just going to ignore you,” Ms Chow, the vice chairperson of the alliance, had told AFP on her way to the police station.
Police have said that those who fail to comply with their request could face up to six months in jail and a fine of HK$100,000 ($12,800, £9,300).
Ms Chow, a human rights lawyer, was arrested earlier this year and charged with promoting unauthorised assembly. She was later released on bail.
She was due on Wednesday to represent an opposition politician charged under the national security law at a bail hearing, but was arrested at her office before she could appear in court.
China recently imposed a broadly-worded national security law in Hong Kong that criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
Critics say it is aimed at crushing dissent but China says it is meant to maintain stability.