A detainee at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre is suspected of security law violations after graffiti advocating independence for Hong Kong was found on the walls of his cell. The Correctional Services Department reported the incident on Tuesday evening.

Officers searched detainee Ma Chun-man’s cell on Tuesday morning and “found wording suspected of advocating ‘Hong Kong independence’ on the wall.”

Photo: KH/United Social Press.

The operation was carried out after management “received intelligence” that the detainee had been “disseminating the message of ‘Hong Kong Independence.'”

The 30-year-old has been placed in solitary custody “for investigation.” The department also confirmed it has reported the case to the police force.

“Any persons in custody found to have committed illegal acts such as disseminating the message of ‘Hong Kong independence’ will be handled seriously with zero tolerance,” a statement by the Correctional Services Department read.

The remand centre is used for detaining persons in custody awaiting trial.

Photo: GovHK.

Ma has already been charged under the security law late last month for inciting others to commit secession. The 30-year-old was denied bail on two separate applications. He is accused of inciting secession on 19 separate occasions from August to November this year. His case is set to be heard in February.

‘Arbitrary, farcical and draconian’

The incident comes amid growing concern about the state of free speech and human rights in Hong Kong as critics accuse authorities of using the security law to gag political dissent in the city.

Hong Kong Watch, a London-based rights group, called the report “concerning,” saying it “demonstrates the arbitrary, farcical, and draconian nature of the national security law” in a Tweet on Wednesday.

Others who have been charged under the security law include teenage activist Tony Chung and Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai.

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Rhoda Kwan

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.