Police arrest 200 protesters in Hong Kong as new security law kicks in
HONG KONG – Police fired water cannon and lobbed tear gas shells at protesters and arrested as many as 200 agitators in Hong Kong on Wednesday. This came in the wake of protesters taking to the street in an act of defiance against the new security law imposed on the city by Beijing.
Late on Tuesday, Beijing revealed details of the law, bringing the financial hub on to a more authoritarian path.
Authorities will use the new law to curb crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion and it comes with life imprisonment for the gravest offences. It will also see the presence of mainland security agencies in the city.
Though authorities in the mainland and the city have reiterated that the new law only targets a few “troublemakers” and will not affect the freedoms of Hong Kong residents, critics fear that would crush the pro-democracy movement and take away people’s rights.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab termed the protests as heartbreaking and rebuked HSBC and other banks for supporting the new legislation. He said the rights of Hong Kong should not be sacrificed for bankers’ bonuses.
Zhang Xiaoming, executive deputy director of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said suspects who are arrested by a new Beijing-run security office could be taken to the mainland for trial.
“The law is a birthday gift to (Hong Kong) and will show its precious value in the future,” Zhang said.
While speaking at the ceremony to commemorate the handover of the former British colony to China, the city’s leader Carrie Lam said the new law was the most significant development since 1997.
Said pro-democracy lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki: “I saw this morning there are celebrations for Hong Kong’s handover, but to me it is a funeral, a funeral for ‘one country two systems’.”
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field