4/4 © Reuters. American lawyer John Clancey exits a building as police officers take him away in Hong Kong 2/4
By Jessie Pang and James Pomfret HONG KONG (Reuters) – Several dozen Hong Kong Democrats are due to report to local police stations in the city on Sunday, with some waiting to be charged with national security violations as they emerge. it intensifies the repression of the democratic opposition. . Benny Tai, one of the organizers of an unofficial primary election last summer, said in an online post that there was a possibility that he would be “indicted.” Tai was arrested in a dawn raid along with 50 other Democrats on January 6 in the largest national security operation since the law was passed last June. They were accused of organizing and participating in an unofficial “primary election” last July with the aim of selecting the strongest candidates for a legislative council election. Democrats were detained at the time, interrogated, and some had their cell phones and computers confiscated, but were released pending further investigation. “My chance of getting bail will not be too great,” wrote Tai, who has been accused by the Chinese authorities of being a key strategist for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony. Also called by the Hong Kong police are John Clancey, a US citizen and human rights lawyer, as well as a group of younger democracy activists from the “resistance camp,” including Lester Shum, Sam Cheung, Ventus Lau and Fergus Leung. Democrats denounced the arrests as political persecution over the informal and peaceful voting that garnered 600,000 votes in a city of 7.5 million. A rights advocacy group, “Power for Democracy,” which co-organized the primaries, said in a Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 post on Friday that it had dissolved. When contacted by Reuters, a local police spokeswoman did not immediately say whether democracy advocates would be charged with violating national security law. Hong Kong police say 99 people have so far been arrested for alleged violations of security laws. Some of them have been denied bail, including media mogul and prominent China critic Jimmy Lai, despite lengthy legal appeals. Broad national security laws, seen by critics as a threat to Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy, punish acts of subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorism with possible life imprisonment.