The former chairperson of the Hong Kong Bar Association has reportedly met with officers from the national security law department.

Prominent human rights lawyer Paul Harris arrived at police headquarters in Wan Chai at around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, according to local media. He was reportedly asked to assist with a national security investigation. According to some outlets, Harris was given a warning over an alleged breach of the national security law.

Paul Harris
Paul Harris, chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association, arrives at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on July 8, 2021 to represent his clients in a national security hearing involving 47 democrats. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

He left at around 1 p.m., Sing Tao reported. He did not respond to questions, and there was no answer at his law firm, Denis Chang’s Chambers.

In response to an enquiry from HKFP, the Force said: “In conducting any operation, Police act on the basis of actual circumstances and according to the law. Police do not comment on individual cases.”

HKFP has also reached out to Harris and Denis Chang’s Chambers.

Hong Kong Police
Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

According to HK01, the meeting was related to NGO Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, of which Harris was the founding chairperson.

‘Distorted opinion’

It’s not the first time that the prominent lawyer has found himself in the authorities’ crosshairs.

Last April, Beijing’s top office in Hong Kong accused Harris of spreading “distorted opinion” and supporting those who had violated the law. The Liaison Office’s comments came after Harris criticised the sentencing of veteran democrat activist Martin Lee and media mogul Jimmy Lai over two unauthorised assemblies in August 2019.

China Liaison Office
Photo: Wikicommons.

China’s state-run People’s Daily has also blasted the Bar Association as a “street rat” whose ” failure in Hong Kong is certain.”

Harris did not seek re-election and was succeeded by a new chairperson, Victor Dawes, a commercial litigator, in January.

At the beginning of his tenure as the Bar Association’s chair, Harris wrote in an article on the association’s website stating that the security law was “not consistent” with the rule of law in Hong Kong.

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