Hong Kong police seeking 6 fugitives, to uphold national security
By Zhang Han and Zhao Yusha Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/1 14:54:44
Hong Kong police are seeking secessionist Nathan Law Kwun-chung and five others for promoting independence of Hong Kong and colluding with foreign forces, signaling the government's determination to punish people who jeopardize the national security, Chinese observers said Saturday.
Former UK consulate staffer, Simon Cheng Man-kit, who was previously detained for soliciting prostitutes, and Samuel Chu of the Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC), a Washington-based secessionist organization, are also on the wanted list.
Observers noted the police are performing their duties under the national security law for Hong Kong, and demonstrates the law's authority and China's determination to punish secessionists and perpetrators who violate the law.
The police notice is the first issued against people who have fled Hong Kong.
Fan Peng, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, told the Global Times the move sends a clear signal to perpetrators of the national security law that they will be subject to legal punishment, no matter their whereabouts, identity and other conditions. And, the authority could hold clear evidence that those people committed crimes against the law after it was enacted, as the law is not retroactive.
Chu, now a US citizen, said that "If I am targeted, any American and any citizen of any nation who speaks for Hong Kong can, and will be, too."
Fan noted Chu's use of his US citizenship to undermine the law's authority by setting the law against US citizens in general. It actually highlights the law's power and scope, as anyone, of any nationalities, is destined to receive the punishment if they violate national security legislation for Hong Kong.
Law and Cheng, and two other wanted secessionists Ray Wong Toi-yeung and Lau Hong, are reportedly in the UK. The whereabouts of Chu and Wayne Chan Ka-kui is not clear but Chan was previously reported to be in Amsterdam.
While the UK has severed its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, China is seeking them under the current framework of domestic and international laws and agreements.
Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times Saturday that the suspects can take a breather in countries like the UK that intentionally shielded suspects for political purposes, but their ability to disturb Hong Kong society has been largely diminished.
The suspects can no longer stir trouble in Hong Kong, Zhi said, noting when situation changes and countries renew their extradition treaties, the secessionists will have no place to hide.
The Hong Kong police department is a member of the Interpol, and countries that shield the suspects are showing no regard the Interpol framework and will face pressure from it, Zhi said.
Canada, Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Germany have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong. US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Hong Kong, including ending the city's special status and tearing up its extradition treaty.
Analysts also noted although these countries' original intention might have been to shield violators from the national security law for Hong Kong, a lack of an extradition treaty will encourage other outlaws to flee to these countries, including robbers and murderers.
As for secessionists still in Hong Kong, including Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and Tai Yiu-ting, Fan said they are safe for now as the law is not retroactive.
But they should not think they have dodged a bullet for good, as they continue to play fire after the law was enacted and they face the same fate as Nathan Law and others if they are found to have crossed boundaries of the law, Fan warned, citing Benny Tai's open pledge to opposition candidates in the "primaries" to paralyze the HKSAR government, and Lai and Wong's collusion with US authorities.
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