Two men were arrested by Hong Kong’s national security police under the colonial-era sedition law on Monday, the police have said.

Both men, aged 38 and 50, were suspected of possessing seditious publications and remain under police detention.

Hong Kong Police
Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The pair allegedly had in their possession several publications that were capable of “inciting hatred or contempt against the Central government, the Hong Kong government and Hong Kong judiciary,” the police said.

The publications in question were also capable of inciting others to use violence or disobey the law, they said, adding that they were related to a completed sedition trial.

Sing Tao and HK01 cited sources that the publications were children’s books about sheep and wolves that were found to be seditious in a high-profile trial last year.

Five speech therapists were found guilty of conspiring to publish, distribute and display three books with seditious intent. They were each sentenced to 19 months in jail last September.

The colonial-era sedition law, last amended in the 1970s, is different from the Beijing-imposed national security law.

sedition sheep
A page from a picture book produced by the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The sedition law, which falls under the Crimes Ordinance, outlaws incitement to violence, disaffection and other offences against the administration.

Sedition cases are handled by hand-picked national security judges. Defendants charged under the colonial-era legislation also face a more stringent national security bail assessment.

Recent arrests

Before apprehending the pair, national security police had already made four arrests in the past week.

A 23-year-old woman was arrested last Wednesday under the security legislation for allegedly publishing messages online inciting Hong Kong independence.

Elizabeth Tang, former chief executive of the disbanded Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, was arrested a day later. She was suspected of collusion with foreign forces.

Then Tang’s sister, Marilyn Tang, and a lawyer, Frederick Ho, were arrested last Saturday for allegedly taking away evidence from the labour rights activist’s home. They were accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

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Candice Chau

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.