Hong Kong police have arrested two men aged 32 and 61 for internet postings which allegedly incited assaults on government officials. The older arrestee is also accused of inciting others to spread Covid-19.

The chief inspector at the Technology Crime Division of the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau Tai Tze-bun. Photo: Video screenshot, via HKPF.

The 32-year-old funeral director and the 61-year-old retiree were both apprehended on Wednesday, the chief inspector at the Technology Crime Division of the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau Tai Tze-bun said in a Thursday press briefing.

According to Tai, the 32-year-old published the allegedly inciting remarks in April, while the 61-year-old was accused of urging others to spread the disease in February and calling for attacks on officials last year.

Tai said they were both suspected of “inciting others to inflict grievous bodily harm with intent” and the retiree was additionally accused of “inciting others to violate anti-epidemic regulations.”

File photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Tai said the pair were in police custody and more arrests might be made. Officers seized three mobile phones, one laptop computer and another mobile device in their Wednesday operation.

“We, the police, absolutely respect freedom of speech, but such freedom is not absolute. We also value the law at the same time,” Tai said.

He said the pair’s alleged actions were “very irresponsible” as there were previous examples of people being incited to action because of internet postings.

Correction 23:48: A previous headline for this article incorrectly stated that the two men were arrested over sedition charges. They were arrested over incitement charges, we regret the error.

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