Dozens of Hong Kong opposition politicians and activists were arrested on Wednesday under the territory’s national security law, and accused of ‘subversion’ over the primaries democrats held last July to choose their candidates for legislative elections that were eventually cancelled.
Police confirmed 53 people between the ages of 23 and 64 had been detained in the raids, which began in the early morning and are the biggest crackdown so far under a security law that was imposed by Beijing on June 30.
“They are suspected of subversion,” Superintendent Li Kwai-wah told the media.
Six were arrested for subverting state power by organising the unofficial primaries, while the rest were arrested for participating in the event, Li said. About 1,000 police took part in the raids, he said, warning that more arrests could be made.
Secretary for Security John Lee said the group had planned to cause “serious damage” to society and that authorities would not tolerate any subversive acts.
“The operation today targets the active elements who are suspected to be involved in the crime of overthrowing or interfering seriously to destroy the Hong Kong government’s legal execution of duties,” Lee told reporters.