Hong Kong police are offering a reward of 1 million Hong Kong dollars (approximately $127,600) for information leading to each arrest of eight self-exiled pro-democracy activists.
Pro-democracy activists: The activists are former pro-democracy lawmakers Nathan Law, Ted Hui and Dennis Kwok, unionist Mung Siu-tat, lawyer Kevin Yam and activists Finn Lau, Anna Kwok and Elmer Yuen, reported the Associated Press.
The activists — seven men and one woman — are currently living abroad in the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia, all of which have have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong.
Accusations: According to police, the eight activists have violated the territory’s National Security Law, with offenses ranging from collusion with foreign forces to inciting secession. The police have obtained arrest warrants from the court for the activists, who continue to remain vocal against Beijing’s crackdown on dissent.
About the law: The bounties reportedly mark the first time police have issued rewards for information on suspects accused of violating the legislation since it was introduced in 2020 to prohibit “sedition, secession and subversion” against Beijing. There have since been over 260 people arrested under the National Security Law.
“Enforcing the law”: Steven Li, chief superintendent of the police’s National Security Department, noted that police have extraterritorial jurisdiction to pursue suspects overseas who threaten the city’s national security.
However, they cannot arrest them if they remain overseas.
“We’re absolutely not staging any show or spreading terror. We’re enforcing the law,” Li said, urging the activists to return and surrender for a reduction in their sentences.
Freedom in Britain: Law, who currently resides in Britain, believes that the charges are an attempt to suppress their voices.
“I am just a Hongkonger who speaks out for Hongkongers,” Law tweeted. “I hope that all friends on the list are well, and I ask Hongkongers not to cooperate with any related pursuit or bounty actions. We should not limit ourselves, self-censor, be intimidated or live in fear.”
British Security Minister Tom Tugendhat also tweeted his support for the activists.
“Hong Kongers in the UK enjoy exactly the same freedoms as the rest of us,” he wrote. “These warrants are trying to interfere with our internal affairs. [Law] and his fellow pro-democracy activists are under our protection, and enjoy our full support.”