HONG KONG: A dozen people fleeing Hong Kong on a speedboat, including an activist arrested under the new national security law, have been captured by China, police in the city said on Friday (Aug 28).
The boat was intercepted by the coastguard, police said, with local media saying it was en route to Taiwan, an island that regularly offers sanctuary to people escaping the mainland.
Multiple media reports said the 12 included Andy Li, who was arrested earlier this month for alleged collusion with foreign forces – a crime under the new Beijing-imposed law that carries a possible life sentence.
The pro-Beijing Wen Wei Po newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said others onboard included several arrested for their part in the sometimes violent protests that wracked Hong Kong for much of 2019.
Beijing imposed its national security law in June after tiring of the protests.
Overnight, certain opinions and expressions in previously free-wheeling Hong Kong became illegal, and activists have spoken of a deep chilling effect that has seen books yanked from libraries and publishers rush to amend their titles.
Hong Kong's administration insists the law has not impinged on the rights to freedom of speech and assembly guaranteed to the territory when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
But a number of pro-democracy figures have left the city since it came into effect, fearful that they may be swept up in a Beijing dragnet and disappear into the mainland's opaque and Communist Party-run justice system.
Before the new law was imposed in response to the huge protests that erupted in JunRead More – Source