Police arrested American solicitor John Clancey and raided the law firm Ho Tse Wai & Partners on Wednesday, where Clancey is a partner.

Police raided the Ho Tse Wai & Partners law firm after solicitor representing Power of Democracy John Clancey was arrested. Photo: Screenshot from Citizen News via Twitter.

Another partner at the firm Jonathan Man confirmed to Citizen News that Clancey was arrested today. Around ten plain clothes police officers requested to enter the law firm’s office in Central, according to video footage taken by the newspaper. Police later asked the building’s security to eject reporters from the floor where the law firm is located.

Ho Tse Wai & Partners was founded by Albert Ho, solicitor and former chairman of the Democratic Party.

At least 52 individuals were arrested for alleged subversion under the security law on Wednesday for organising and participating in the legislative primaries run by the democrats last July. Among those detained were prominent pro-democracy activists and former opposition lawmakers. Over 600,000 Hongkongers voted in the unofficial democratic primaries last year which aimed to secure a majority for the democratic camp in the city’s partially-elected legislature.

Clancey served as the treasurer for political group Power for Democracy during the pan-democratic camp’s primary election last year.

John Clancey. Photo: Ho Tse Wai & Partners website.

According to his biography on the law firm’s website, Clancey is the chairman of the Asian Human Rights Commission and the Asian Legal Resource Center. He is also a founding member of the Executive Committee of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group. He was admitted to practice as a solicitor in Hong Kong in 1997 and has since then worked for the firm.

In June 2020, Beijing inserted national security legislation directly into city’s mini-constitution – bypassing the local legislature – following a year of pro-democracy protests and unrest. It criminalised subversion, secession, foreign interference and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to public transport and other infrastructure. The move gave police sweeping new powers, alarming democrats, civil society groups and trade partners, as such laws have been used broadly to silence and punish dissidents in China.

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Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.