Hong Kong national security police have demanded that an online news outlet which had ties with a defunct opposition group to remove “sensitive” content, the platform’s founder has said.

Wong Yeung-tat, Civic Passion.
Wong Yeung-tat, Civic Passion. File photo: HKFP.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Wong Yeung-tat, the founder of Passion Times, said he had received a notice from the National Security Department of the police that morning asking for some “sensitive” content to be deleted. The 42-year-old confirmed with HKFP that the content in question had been published on his news site, but he refused to disclose any further details.

The head of the digital outlet also founded Civic Passion, a political party with roots in the localist movement that was considered to be a more radical faction of the broader opposition camp. Wong quit the group and continued to run Passion Times independently, before the party disbanded last September when its chairman Cheng Chung-tai was ousted from the legislature after being ruled not “patriotic” enough for public office.

Wong said he had handled the matter in accordance with the police request, and declined to comment on what legislation was cited in the document, or the potential penalty for non-compliance.

Passion Times
The Passion Times homepage. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

“Being in Hong Kong today and continuing to do media work, the risks are getting greater day by day. But I’m still in Hong Kong, I still host programmes every day…” Wong wrote on Facebook.

“Before we succeed, we definitely should not give up on our dreams,” he added.

In response to HKFP’s enquiries, police said on Wednesday night that they would not comment on individual cases.

“Any action taken by the police is based on actual circumstances and handled in accordance with the law,” the police said in an email reply.

The Force went on to say that Article 43 of the national security law stipulated that police can request the removal of online posts deemed as potentially leading to national security offences.

“The aim of the restriction power is to prevent and curb acts and activities endangering national security. Citizens can continue to use the internet legally without being affected,” the police said.

On its Facebook page, Passion Times described itself as a multimedia platform that “comprehensively combined” news, online broadcast and social activism. It has more than 475,300 followers on Facebook, while its Instagram account has a following of around 18,800.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.