A tip-off line operated by Hong Kong police and dedicated to national security law offences received over 200,000 messages from the public — an average of almost 550 a day – in its first year in operation, the force announced on the anniversary of its launch.
The national security hotline, launched last November 5, encouraged members of the public to anonymously report possible national security offences via WeChat, SMS and email. Police also urged the public to send in audio recordings, photos or videos of suspected crimes.
“Thank you for contributing to safeguarding national security. National Security, a Mission We Share!” the force wrote on its Facebook page on Friday.
In June 2020, Beijing enacted a national security law for Hong Kong following months of pro-democracy protests and unrest the previous year. The law criminalised subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts and gave police sweeping new investigative powers.
As of October, 155 people had been arrested under it and 100 of them charged. Authorities have declined to comment on how many security law investigations are under way.
The majority of the city’s political opposition — including lawmakers, journalists, activists and lawyers — have either been arrested under the security law or other legislation or have fled the city.
Critics say the law, which prescribes a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, has been used to crush dissent. Authorities say it has restored stability and peace to the city.