Overseas activists who launched a committee to establish a “Hong Kong Parliament” in exile are suspected of violating the Beijing-imposed national security law, the city’s Security Bureau has said.

The bureau named three of the organising members of the committee – businessman and commentator Elmer Yuen, journalist Victor Ho, and ex-lawmaker-elect Baggio Leung – and accused them of “contravening the offence of subversion” in a statement published on Wednesday morning.

National security law
A banner inside the Hong Kong government headquarters promoting the national security law. Photo: GovHK.

The statement also said that the police would “spare no efforts in pursuing the cases” in accordance with the sweeping security legislation, “in order to bring the offenders to justice.”

“The Security Bureau appeals to the public to dissociate themselves from individuals contravening the Hong Kong National Security Law, and the illegal activities those individuals organised, so as to avoid bearing any unnecessary legal risks,” it continued.

The national security law, enacted in June 2020, criminalised subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, which have been broadly defined to include disruption to transport and other infrastructure.

HKFP has reached out to the Security Bureau for comment.

Plans for online, global vote

The Hong Kong Parliament Electoral Organizing Committee announced its launch last month. The group, based in Toronto, Canada, said it aimed to hold the first election of the parliament in late 2023.

Hong Kong Parliament
Press conference announcing the launch of the Hong Kong Parliament Electoral Organising Committee. Photo: Hong Kong Parliament, via video screenshot.

The scheme was initiated by Yuen, who is the father of ex-People Power chair Erica Yuen and scholar Derek Yuen, who is married to New People’s Party lawmaker Eunice Yung.

In a press conference announcing the launch of the committee last Wednesday, Yuen said that the vote would be held “globally” and online, though he said he could not disclose which network the committee would use.

According to the committee, the parliament “represents, solidifies and revives Hong Kong people’s rights of self-determination.”

The committee is chaired by journalist Victor Ho, who is the former editor-in-chief of the Vancouver edition of Sing Tao Daily.

baggio leung
Baggio Leung. Photo: Eric Cheung/HKFP.

Leung was one of the first lawmakers to be disqualified as a legislative councillor-elect in Hong Kong after he was elected in 2016. He protested during the Legislative Council’s swearing-in ceremony by mispronouncing his oath, and draped himself in a flag that read “Hong Kong is not China.”

Now 35, Leung was among the growing list of pro-democracy figures who left the city to go into self-exile. He said he sought asylum in the US in December two years ago, after the implementation of the security legislation.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.