Hong Kong national security police on Wednesday arrested four men it accused of supporting overseas dissidents and of advocating for independence from China, two days after issuing warrants and bounties against several foreign-based activists.
The four men “were suspected of receiving funds from operating companies, social platforms and mobile applications to support people who have fled overseas and continue to engage in activities that endanger national security”, the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police said in a statement.
The statement did not specifically link the arrests to eight warrants issued earlier this week for prominent foreign-based dissidents. Local media, citing unnamed sources, connected the arrested men to an online platform known as “Punish Mee” that was allegedly used to provide financial aid to the eight wanted overseas activists.
The police statement cited “suspicion of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces and acts with seditious intent” and said the men were suspected of breaking the National Security Law, imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing in 2020 following an outbreak of democracy demonstrations.
They were also suspected of repeatedly publishing posts with seditious intention on social media platforms, including content which provoked hatred towards the Central Authorities(China) and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and advocated “Hong Kong independence”, the police statement said.
The statement did not give the names of the detainees.
A Reuters witness saw Ivan Lam, the former chairman of the now disbanded pro-democracy group Demosisto, taken into a police van from an industrial building in Hong Kong’s Kwai Chung District on Wednesday.