Family of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law taken in for questioning by police

Hong Kong police searched the family home of exiled pro-democracy activist Nathan Law on Tuesday morning, taking relatives away for questioning, the city’s public broadcaster RTHK reported, citing sources.

It came just a week after police placed HK$1 million bounties on information leading to the arrest of Law and seven other prominent activists in self-imposed exile wanted for national security offenses, in a move strongly condemned by rights groups and Western governments.

National security police visited the Tung Chung housing estate where Law’s family live, and took away his parents and elder brother for questioning to find out whether they provided financial assistance to Law, RTHK reported, citing police sources.

They were later released, according to RTHK.

In a statement provided to CNN, Hong Kong police said its national security department took away two men and a woman for investigation Tuesday morning, without identifying them.

“They are suspected of assisting persons wanted by police to continue to commit acts and engage in activities that endanger national security,” the statement said.

“Investigation is underway and further operations, including arrest, may be made.”

Responding to the police action, Law issued a statement on Facebook denying any financial support from his family.

“I can say this with certainty. Those relevant people and I have no financial ties. My work has nothing to do with them,” he said. “Any suggestions of ‘assistance’ is purely absurd.”

Law publicly severed ties with his family in Hong Kong in August 2020, soon after he arrived in Britain, where he has since been granted political asylum.

Law and the seven other activists have been accused of violating the national security law, with offenses ranging from collusion with foreign forces to subversion of state power.

After leaving Hong Kong in the wake of the law’s introduction, many of the activists have continued to speak out against what they say is Beijing’s crackdown on their home city’s freedoms and autonomy.

Last week, police arrested five people on suspicion of financially aiding the eight activists abroad.

The group of seven men and one woman are now based in the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia – countries that have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong due to concerns over the controversial law.

Speaking to reporters last week, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee said the eight activists would be pursued by the city’s authorities for life and anyone with information on them, including their families, should hand it over to police, according to RTHK.

The only way the eight can escape living in fear of arrest every day of their lives is to turn themselves in, added Lee, a former police officer and security chief.

The sweeping law was imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong in 2020, after huge pro-democracy protests roiled the semi-autonomous city. It criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers and carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Critics say the legislation has been used to crush the city’s opposition movement, overhaul its electoral system, silence its outspoken media and cripple its once-vibrant civil society. Many of Hong Kong’s prominent pro-democracy figures have either been detained or fled into self-imposed exile.

The Hong Kong government has repeatedly denied the national security law is suppressing freedoms. Instead, it insists the law has ended chaos and restored stability to the city.

Last week, Law said in a statement that while the news of the bounties was stressful and meant he’d have to be more careful while traveling, it didn’t come as a surprise. He criticized the national security law as being used to “suppress dissenting voices,” and reiterated his hope for Hong Kong to one day gain full democracy.

“I am just a Hong Konger speaking out for Hong Kongers – that’s all,” he said, and urged the public not to cooperate with the bounty offer. “We should not silence or limit ourselves, we should not be politically intimidated or blackmailed, or live in fear.”


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