Hong Kong police have arrested four men and one woman – aged 15 to 24 – under the national security law for allegedly “subverting state power.”
Local media cited sources as saying some suspects – who were rounded up on Thursday morning – were members of a local student group called “Returning Valiant.” Reports said some were involved in a burglary case at a secondary school in Tseung Kwan O, which took place during the early hours on Wednesday.
Officers had reportedly made four arrests on campus, and later picked up three more people. The force found banners and flags related to Hong Kong independence at some of the arrestees’ homes, local media reported.
Yau Tsim Mong District Councillor Ben Lam told HKFP he had received calls for help on Thursday morning. He learned that at least two people had been arrested at their homes by the police national security unit, including an underage girl. Police raided their homes and seized some electronic devices, Lam said, adding one of the offences they are accused of committing was subversion.
Subversion is criminalised under the Beijing-enacted security legislation, which also outlaws secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts. The law provides for a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
More than 100 people have been arrested since the law came into force last June 30 and dozens have been charged.
Returning Valiant said on Facebook that some of its members had been arrested for allegedly breaching the security law but did not say how many. It said lawyers were on their way.
“Political oppression will not deter us. Remaining members of Returning Valiant must uphold the mission to enlighten the people, and continue to assemble talent and resist the tyranny,” the group wrote on Facebook.
The student organisation – which has 260 followers on Facebook – said it was formed by what it called “a group of revolutionary embers” which aim to “continue the flames of revolution” and work on “enlightening the people, liberating [the] city.”