More high-profile pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong have complained of being tailed by unknown men, as activist Sunny Cheung reportedly fled the city last week amid fears of the Beijing-imposed national security law.
On Monday, state-owned Wen Wei Po cited sources as saying that Cheung relocated to the UK last Friday. Sources told the paper that Cheung – a former spokesman of the now-disbanded Hong Kong Higher Institutions International Affairs Delegation (IAD) – decided to flee after another activist Agnes Chow was arrested on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces last Monday. She was made to surrender her travel documents.
The offence carries a maximum of life imprisonment under the sweeping legislation that also criminalises secession, subversion and terrorist acts.
Cheung, who had actively engaged in international lobbying, will meet with exiled activist Nathan Law on British soil, according to Wen Wei Po‘s sources. He may work with Law and former British consulate staffer Simon Cheng, who now lives in the UK under political asylum, to promote global advocacy work through a “shadow parliament,” the report read.
But Law denied the report on Monday afternoon, saying he had not been in touch with Cheung after he also left Hong Kong last month. The former leader of the now-disbanded political group Demosisto also rejected claims that he was involved in matters like the “shadow parliament.”
“No matter which direction Cheung chooses to go, I believe he will continue to make contributions to the democratic movement,” Law wrote on Facebook.
HKFP has reached out to Cheung for comment.
Pro-democracy figures tailed
Wen Wei Po‘s report came three days after Cheung complained on social media that he was followed by at least three unknown men, whom he suspected to be national security personnel.
According to Cheung’s post, which was deleted shortly after, the behaviour of his alleged stalkers resembled those who showed up outside Chow’s residence hours before her arrest.
The activist said she spotted a group of men standing opposite the gate of her building throughout the day before police apprehended her in the evening. She said three to four men waited there and took photos with their phones, while a vehicle dropped off another batch of men after a few hours.
Figo Chan, vice-convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), also complained on Facebook that two suspicious men were found wandering around a radio station where he and CHRF convenor Jimmy Sham were recording a programme last Friday. Chan claimed the men tried to follow the duo when they left the station on a taxi, but did not succeed.
“Actually, Jimmy and I have been repeatedly followed these days. I can only say we could be facing the country’s machine. Everyone needs to take care,” Chan wrote.
Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui is also among the democrats who suspect they are being tailed. Last Friday evening, the legislator was tackled by police in Kennedy Town after he confronted people inside a vehicle whom he said were following him. Hui said the men in the car did not respond to his queries and hit his thigh when they tried to drive away.
“I saw a car was following me, and they’ve been following me for a few days,” Hui told reporters at the scene.
State-owned newspaper Ta Kung Pao have since confirmed the men were their reporters. They said Hui shouted profanities and tried to pull them out of the vehicle. The newspaper slammed the legislator as “trampling press freedom” and said they reserved the right to take legal action.
Last month, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said during an interview with the BBC that they were shadowed by “Chinese agents.” He said that, following the enactment of the national security law, it was difficult for him to ensure his personal safety.
“I may be chased by [a] private car or unknown people day by day. It gets more ridiculous the more they talk about it, there could be a few cars following me,” Wong told BBC.