The Hong Kong Police Force is set to launch a counter-terrorism hotline on Wednesday for people to report potential terrorist or related crimes. Rewards will be given to those who provide intelligence that leads to prosecutions.
In a statement, police said the hotline was an “upgrade” of an existing anti-violence hotline, which was set up in 2019 after protests erupted against an axed extradition bill. The new version of the hotline will be managed by the Inter-departmental Counter-Terrorism Unit, and information will be shared across departments.
The authorities rolled out a hotline for reporting national security violations a few months after Beijing imposed the law in Hong Kong in June 2020. Subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts are offences under the law. The highest penalty is life imprisonment.
“After the National Security Law took effect in mid-2020, Hong Kong’s law and order has generally regained its stability. Nevertheless, Police note that the activities of local extremists have turned underground and become more covert,” the police statement read.
Police said people will initially be able to make reports via text message and WeChat, with the reporting channels to be expanded if necessary.
The announcement of the new hotline came as Chief Executive Carrie Lam warned on Tuesday of “hidden threats” despite the implementation of the security law.
“[T]here are still some lone-wolf style or underground radical activities. Police have uncovered bomb-making materials – once last year, once this year – and the scale was quite large. Often certain mass events or sensitive dates could be used to incite… destructive activities,” Lam said.
Last month, three people were arrested over alleged bomb-making materials in a public housing estate unit.