“Wanted” Hong Kong democrat Ted Hui has deemed the freezing of his and his family’s bank accounts “political revenge,” after the police launched an investigation into alleged money laundering and violations of the national security law.

“This is clearly the regime’s attempt to take political revenge via economic oppression, and to use collective punishment to oppress my family to persecute dissenting voices,” the self-exiled former pro-democracy lawmaker said on Facebook on Sunday.

Ted Hui. Photo: Ted Hui, via Facebook.

Hui told local media that his and his family’s bank accounts were frozen upon his arrival in the UK last Friday, following his announcement of his decision to go into exile the day before.

The police said in a Facebook post on Sunday that Hui was now alleged to have misappropriated and processed money from a crowdfunding campaign using his family’s bank accounts, as well as colluding with foreign forces to harm national security.

The police said that around HK$850,000 were frozen. However, according to Hui, a couple million dollars worth of life savings were frozen in five HSBC, Hang Seng Bank and Bank of China accounts.

However, by Sunday night, Hui said that he had regained partial access to his HSBC account, whilst the freeze on his family’s HSBC accounts had been removed. He said he was moving his funds to a “safer place.”

Hui started a crowdfunding campaign last year to fund legal fees for initiating the “Private Prosecution and Civil Injunction against Police Brutality” campaign. It raised over HK$3,500,000.

Hui said in the Facebook post that the money from the crowdfunding campaign had always been deposited in the law firm’s bank account, and an audit report had been made available. He added that the funds had no relationship to his, or his family’s, accounts.

Aside from freezing the accounts, the police said they would also order for Hui’s arrest, as well as investigation into the whereabouts of the funds in question.

‘Crushes the credibility of Hong Kong banks’

“The regime thought this could suppress dissidents, yet they don’t realise that this has directly hit the world’s confidence in Hong Kong’s banking and judicial systems, causing mutual destruction,” Hui’s post read.

Ted Hui announcing his plans to launch “Private Prosecution and Civil Injunction Against Police Brutality.” Photo: Inmediahk.net, via CC 2.0.

“I think this incident is very serious, it shows that under the national security law, banks can freely freeze citizens’ assets because of political pressure. This severely crushes the credibility of Hong Kong banks and financial system, and violates the protection of private property provided by the Basic Law,” he added in a latter post.

Hui also called upon local and international financial regulatory bodies to investigate the incident and punish law enforcement officers and bank management officials that have abused their power.

When he left for Denmark last Monday, Hui was on bail and facing multiple charges connected to a protest last July 6 in Tuen Mun park.

The ex-Democratic Party legislator was also arrested on two separate occasions under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance last month for protesting against the pro-Beijing camp in the Legislative Council chamber. In all, Hui said he was facing nine legal cases.

Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.