Four former leaders of a disbanded pro-democracy union have reportedly been brought in for questioning by Hong Kong’s national security police after allegedly failing to supply information about its past activities. Police also searched premises linked to the coalition.

Chairperson of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions Joe Wong Nai-yuen. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

HKFP has reached out to the police for comment.

The former chair of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) Joe Wong, former vice-chair Leo Tang, ex-treasurer Chung Chung-fai, and former general secretary Lee Cheuk-yan – who is currently behind bars – were taken on Thursday morning to assist police investigations, numerous local media outlets including iCable, TVB, Now News and Headline Daily reported.

Isaac Tsang, a former community organiser at the confederation, told HKFP he had learnt from local media and other ex-members that police went to Wong, Tang and Chung’s homes at around 6 a.m. and took them to police stations. Tsang said he did not know which police stations they were brought to.

Media reports said the union had allegedly refused to comply with a police request for information based on the Societies Ordinance. They said the force had applied for warrants to search premises related to the organisation.

HK01 reported that officers arrived at the union’s premises at Mong Kok’s Wing Wong Building, Waford Industrial Building in Kwai Chung and Yau Ma Tei’s Fourseas Building at around 10 a.m.

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions was one of many civil society groups that disbanded in 2021. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Police made the data request to HKCTU on February 17. According to HK01 and Ming Pao, the coalition was asked to give information about its operations, activities, source of income and expenditure, as well as any connections with fellow unions and foreign organisations.

Five former HKCTU members, including Wong, Tang and Chung, handed in the group’s reply at police headquarters on March 24.

‘Remain criminally liable’

The HKCTU was Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy union coalition, representing almost 100 affiliated organisations totalling around 145,000 members, before its dissolution in October 2021.

Wong said at the time that members of the coalition had received threatening messages that made them concerned for their physical safety should they continue operations.

Despite the shutdown, the Security Bureau issued a statement saying any organisation or its members would “remain criminally liable” for offences committed, regardless of disbandment.

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.

Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.