Police have arrested a man on suspicion of making threats towards a football match between the champions of the Hong Kong and the Chinese leagues next Tuesday.

The 31-year-old was arrested on the charge of accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent for comments he made online about the Asian Champions League match between Eastern and Guangzhou Evergrande.

Guangzhou Evergrande vs Eastern in February. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

The charge of accessing a computer with dishonest intent was introduced as part of the Computer Crimes Ordinance in 1993.

In a press conference on Thursday, chief inspector Paul Wong Tak-choi said the police received a public complaint about online speech that allegedly threatened the game at Mong Kok Stadium.

See also: Police criticised for lack of transparency in the use of ‘dishonest use of computer’ charge

“It includes [threats] of violence against people coming to watch the match, and even arson,” he added.

The man was arrested in the Jordan area on Thursday morning. His residence in Chai Wan was also searched, reported Apple Daily.

Hong Kong-China tensions?

Mong Kok assistant district commander Chung Chi-ming said he believed the man was unhappy about ticketing arrangements.

“The tension between Hong Kong and China is not the direction of our criminal investigation,” he said. “We will not… politicise [the investigation], because after all we are a relatively neutral police force.”

Chief inspector Paul Wong Tak-choi. screenshot.

Next Tuesday’s match between Eastern and Evergrande will be the second time the teams face each other in the Asian Champions League group stage.

The previous match played in Guangzhou in February ended 7:0 to Evergrande after Eastern had two players sent off.

Before the February match, Guangzhou supporters caused controversy after they reportedly insulted Eastern’s players, calling them “Hong Kong dogs.”

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.