Hong Kong police have arrested pro-democracy activist Agnew Chow on Monday (10 Aug) under the territory’s new national security law. Nine others were also arrested in this latest clampdown of authorities on the media.
According to a statement on Ms Chow’s Facebook page on Monday night, several police arrived at Ms Chow’s residence and detained her for “colluding with foreign forces” under the new law. The statement said, “According to the police, Agnes was accused of calling upon foreign countries to impose sanctions on China on her social media accounts since the enactment of the law.”
The states said that Ms Chow was being tailed by “unknown agents” over the past month and that her home was under surveillance. “As one of her neighbours reveals, an infrared surveillance camera was installed right next to her doorsteps for weeks,” the statement read, adding that the camera was only removed after the arrest.
RTHK news reported that Ms Chow’s former Demosisto colleague Nathan Law also confirmed that she had been taken into custody just hours after a number of other arrests under the national security law.
Demosisto is a now-defunct pro-democracy political party founded by Ms Chow, Mr Low, and activist Joshua Wong.
Mr Low was quoted by RTHK as saying, “Agnes Chow is arrested under National Security Law and we are still acquiring information about the content of the arrests. Horrible day.”
Mr Wong also posted about Ms Chow’s arrest on his Facebook page on the same day. He wrote, “My former colleague Agnes Chow was also arrested for violating the new security law, even though she has quit Demosistō and her twitter account has stopped operating before the enactment of the law. Clearly, it proves that the national security law is retrospective.”
He also noted that the arrests of nine other pro-democracy activists including media owner Jimmy Lai, which he described as “just one of Beijing’s attack on our press freedom.”
The office of Mr Lai’s pro-democracy company, Apple News, was also raided by the police and he faces charges of colluding with foreign forces.
According to a more recent post on Ms Chow’s Facebook on Tuesday (11 Aug), Ms Chow is still being detained, accompanied by lawyers. It was noted that the police have conducted a video inquiry.
She added, “It is not known when I will be released on bail,” adding that the police have seized all her cell phones and computers.
Earlier in July, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lihjian said in a briefing that “all anti-China activities in Hong Kong will be punished under related law.” This was following refreshed protests after the new national security law came into effect.
The new law provides for life sentences and long jail terms for national security crimes in relation to secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces. The vaguely-defined law has been described by various experts and activists as appearing to curb the pro-democracy movements.