Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and Civic Party legislator Jeremy Tam have said that they have been followed and filmed by unknown men in separate incidents over recent days. Both claimed they were being targeted in light of the looming national security laws, slamming Beijing’s decision as creating “white terror” in the city.
According to Wong – the Demosisto secretary-general – Southern District Councillor Tiffany Yuen and their friends spotted a “suspicious” white private vehicle in San Po Kong at around 8 pm on Saturday.
Wong tweeted that, after their meeting ended three hours later, they realised they were each followed by a group of four. Based on a video posted by the activist, a man was filming with his phone from across the road. The person was later confronted by Wong and his friends, who questioned whether he was sent by Chinese law enforcement, mainland national security forces or Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong.
The man wielded an umbrella and shouted: “What is happening now?” before he accused the group of trying to rob him. He later got in a taxi and left the scene.
A white car drove past during the scuffle, which Wong claimed he has seen multiple times in the area recently. He suspected the vehicle was supposed to pick up the person allegedly following them, but drove away from the scene after they were exposed.
“Maybe this happens all the time in Mainland China, but HK is supposed to be different. After all, the national security law still hasn’t been passed. So why are activists & councillors being monitored every single day?” Wong asked in his post on Twitter.
He added: “Political surveillance with chilling effect, sadly, has become the new reality in HK. Everyone, please take care. Do not go out alone. Stay safe.”
Beijing has approved plans to criminalise subversion, secession, foreign interference and terrorism in Hong Kong. The move has stunned democrats, civil society groups and trade partners, as such laws have been used broadly to silence and punish dissidents in China.
On Friday night, pro-democracy lawmaker Tam also posted a video of him confronting a man whom he accused of stalking him after he left the Legislative Council Complex.
When questioned by Tam, the man – with a mainland accent – denied he knew the legislator and deleted photos on his phone. He told Tam he would go to a police station to report Tam for taking photos of him, but he suddenly ran away as the democrat called the police.
At a press conference on Saturday, Tam admitted he could not confirm the identity of the alleged stalker, but said the person “had bad intentions.” He said the incident showed Hong Kong is no longer safe and said the draft laws to punish acts that Beijing deemed as a threat to national security would not make the city secure.
“After the national security legislation is passed, under the same circumstances, if the person says he is Chinese national security forces, what can I do? If I confront him, will I get taken away?” Tam asked.
Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung said Tam was not the only one being stalked, as other legislators, district councillors and activists face similar situations. He accused the authorities of causing fear among politicians and warned the general public could be tailed as well when the national security legislation is implemented.
“The national security law has not arrived yet, but white terror is being made already,” Yeung said, but added his party would not back down because of fear and would continue to oppose the proposed legislation.