Hong Kong, January 8 (ANI): Beijing's crackdown on pro-democracy protestors continues with impunity. Just a day after police arrested dozens of former lawmakers and opposition activists, Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was arrested on Thursday (local time) over an alleged violation of the city's National Security Law, reported CNN.
Beijing's new National Security Law criminalises acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces, and carries with it a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Earlier on Wednesday (local time), they had arrested 53 persons. Among them, six were arrested for organising and planning an informal primary election last July ahead of the city's Legislative Council elections, while the remaining 47 were arrested owing to their participation in the event.
Hong Kong officials had previously promised that the law would be limited in effect, and only target a small number of fringe activists. However, since its introduction, the law has been used to forcefully stamp out the city's formerly vibrant pro-democracy movement, reported CNN.
Of the 53 arrested on Wednesday, 52 are now on bail but are required to surrender travel documents and report to police again in early February, police told CNN. The remaining activist, former pro-democracy lawmaker Wu Chi-wai, was taken to court on Thursday after police said he had failed to hand over all travel documents when applying for bail in a previous case.
Lester Shum, a district councillor who was among those released on bail, called the mass arrest "ridiculous". Also among those arrested was American lawyer John Clancey, who was released on bail without charge. Clancey is the first foreign citizen without a Hong Kong passport to be arrested under the national security law.
Wong too was in prison serving a 13.5-month sentence for his role in demonstrations during the 2019 pro-democracy protest movement.
On Thursday, a post published on Wong's verified Facebook page said he had been transferred from prison to a detention centre, where police officers questioned him. An assistant who has been managing Wong's social media accounts confirmed his arrest to CNN.
Such vague parameters under the new National Security Law have provided authorities with sweeping powers to crack down on government opponents as Beijing continues to tighten its control over the semi-autonomous city. The mass arrests have been met with strong condemnation from several countries. (ANI)