July 5th was a busy day for Hong Kong PD as they arrested five people aged 26 to 28 for their alleged involvement in sponsoring people who have successfully escaped China. Four of the five were arrested for conspiracy to collude with foreign forces. Another was taken into custody at the Hong Kong International Airport.
The charge is because China outlawed activities toward a free Hong Kong in the semi-autonomous city as a matter of national security. Upon their arrest, conspiracy to sedition was also added to the charges.
At the root of their investigation are a group of eight pro-democracy figures who have been living in self-imposed exile. With a one million Hong Kong Dollars ($128,000 in USD) bounty on each of their heads, the nation has been hunting for them for a minute. Facing charges of multiple violations of national security, rights groups and multiple Western countries have decried the charges.
Being charged by the Chinese government to target Hong Kong citizens with secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers charges have severely eroded the freedom within the city. Further underlining their commitment to catching them, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee, a former police officer and security chief, issued a warning to the wanted. Telling them they would be pursued “for life”, Lee has left little room for misinterpretation.
In a statement, Chinese officials alleged the “investigation revealed that the arrested persons were suspected of receiving funds from operating companies, social media platforms, and mobile applications to support people who have fled overseas and continue to engage in activities that endanger national security. They were also suspected of repeatedly publishing posts with seditious intention on social media platforms.”