National security police searched the University of Hong Kong’s student union in Pok Fu Lam on Friday, days after the government and university criticised students for sympathising with a man who stabbed a police officer.
Officers were seen carrying boxes of evidence from the student union offices.
Officers also searched the offices of student union media CampusTV. Reporters were not allowed into the offices.
The student union has been requested to vacate its premises after university staff tore down all pro-democracy displays from its walls on Sunday.
The union’s leaders had already apologised and resigned following criticism from the Security Bureau.
A lawyer arrived at the Composite Building at around 4pm. He told reporters he was a representative for the students, without giving his name.
The force told HKFP its national security department was investigating the student union in relation to its statement regarding the July 1 attack on a police officer on Friday evening.
“Police National Security Department is investigating the Hong Kong University Students’ Union Council’s mourning for the attacker who attempted to murder a police officer on July 1 with co-operation of the University of Hong Kong,” an email statement read.
It added that search was conducted under a court warrant but declined to disclose any operational details “at this stage.”
July 1 statement
The university management said on Tuesday it will stop recognising the student body and will “seriously investigate” students involved in a declaration commemorating a man who killed himself after stabbing a police officer on July 1.
HKU’s comments came hours after Chief Executive Carrie Lam called for further action against students responsible for the declaration.
Lam on Tuesday also said she would agree with the police taking action against the students responsible “if the police see there’s room for pursuit.”
“Whether it is the law enforcement or university, I will not interfere,” she continued. “I will leave it up to them to pursue the matter vigorously.”
An HKU statement during the police search said: “The University confirms that the police have entered the campus to investigate a case with a Court Order. The University is obliged to act in compliance.”
Around a dozen officers searched CampusTV’s offices. They took away one computer and some documents as evidence, a representative told HKFP.
Officers also searched the offices of student magazine Undergrad. Both editor-in-chief and deputy editor were both questioned by police, the publication said on its Facebook page. Officers also took a stack of documents from its offices as evidence.
HKFP has reached out to the police and former student union leaders for comment. The university previously denied knowledge of any staff calling in the police over the controversy.
Additional reporting: Kelly Ho.
Update 16.07.21: This article was updated to include the force’s response.