Hong Kong Pledges to Hunt Activists for Life following the Bounty Offer

July 5, 2023: On Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee vowed to follow eight pro-democracy activists after they were targeted with arrest warrants for alleged national security offenses.

“Endangering national security is a serious crime, and the [Hong Kong] government will enforce the law strictly,” Lee said in Cantonese at a press conference in Hong Kong, according to a translation.

“The government will use all legal means and, to the best of our ability, hold these criminals endangering national security accountable,” he added. “Even if these fugitives go to the ends of the Earth, the authorities will follow these criminals for life.”

Lee said surrender was the only solution for them. “Otherwise, they will be pursued for life, worrying every day about being arrested and living in fear,” he added.

On Monday, Hong Kong police accused the eight overseas activists of offenses under the national security law, including foreign conspiracy, subversion, and incitement to line. The controversial law was resisted for several years before it was imposed on Hong Kong in 2020 after protracted anti-China protests the year before.

Beijing said the legislation aimed to prohibit secession, subversion of state power, terrorism activities, and foreign interference. Critics believe the protection law undermines the autonomy promised to Hong Kong for almost 50 years after being handed over from the U.K. to China on July 1, 1997.

Police have also offered a reward of 1 million Hong Kong dollars ($127 715) for information leading to the arrest of each activist and warned the public it’s criminal to offer them any form of economic assistance.

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