HONG KONG, CHINA — Hong Kong’s leader has called on eight overseas activists to turn themselves in a day after police put out bounties on them for violating the city’s national security law.
Police on Monday issued bounties of HK$1 million (US$128,000) each for eight prominent democracy activists based abroad, accusing them of crimes such as subversion and colluding with foreign forces.
City leader John Lee said Tuesday that he supported the police action and called on the activists to surrender themselves.
“The only way to end their destiny of being an abscondee, who will be pursued for life, is to surrender,” Lee told reporters, adding they would otherwise “spend their days in fear”.
All eight fled Hong Kong after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the financial hub in 2020 to quell dissent after huge, sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in 2019 were quashed.
Lee called on the public to assist police, adding that even “relatives and friends” of the activists can be informants.
The move has been criticised by the United States, Britain and Australia — countries where some of the wanted activists reside.
“I’m not afraid of any political pressure that is put on us, because we do what we believe is right,” Lee said Tuesday.
The group includes former pro-democracy lawmakers Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Ted Hui Chi-fung and Dennis Kwok Wing-hang.
Veteran unionist Mung Siu-tat is also among the wanted as are activists Elmer Yuen Gong-yi, Finn Lau Cho-dik, Anna Kwok Fung-yee and Kevin Yam Kin-fung.