Hong Kong national security police arrest student group leaders

By Kelly Ho

Hong Kong national security police have arrested at least two leaders of a pro-democracy student group, amid a major crackdown on opposition groups.

Student Politicism said on Monday that its convenor Wong Yat-chin and secretary general Chan Chi-sum were detained by officers from the police national security unit at 6.40 a.m. The group told HKFP it was still confirming the total number of arrested members and would post updates as soon as possible.

Student Politicism convenor Wong Yat-chin makes a speech at the Yuen Long public transport interchange on July 21. 2021. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Wong and Chan were arrested on suspicion of inciting subversion, according to Cable News citing sources. Police also raided Student Politicism’s storage unit in Kwai Chung, media reported.

Jessica Chu, the former spokesperson for Student Politicism and a student at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), received a call from police at around 7 a.m. asking her to come home to assist the investigation, according to the HKBU’s student union editorial board. Chu reportedly arrived around two hours later, and national security officers were waiting inside her home.

Photos from local media showed police took away boxes of materials from the industrial building where the storage unit was located. They included books, face masks, chocolate and biscuits.

Police take away boxes of materials from Student Politicism’s storage unit in Kwai Chung. Photo: inmediahk.net, via CC 2.0.

HKFP has reached out to police for comment.

Multiple arrests

The student group is one of the few pro-democracy organisations still existing in Hong Kong, after numerous civil society groups disbanded under pressure of the sweeping security law.

Student Politicism Secretary General Chan Chi-sum. File photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Core members of Student Politicism have faced multiple arrests since the group was founded in May last year, a month before the national security law came into force. It provides for penalties of up to life imprisonment.

Wong and Chan were detained on July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China, for allegedly distributing seditious publications after the group tried to organise a street booth.

Police also arrested Wong four other times for alleged offences including inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly, publicising an unauthorised assembly and distributing seditious publications. He had not previously been charged.