Hong Kong national security police have taken away a woman with reported links to a wanted activist and ex-lawmaker for questioning, according to local media – the latest move in authorities’ investigations of eight overseas pro-democracy figures issued with arrest warrants and HK$1 million bounties.

Citing sources, local outlets reported that national security police were investigating whether a woman named Yu Chi-yan had been in contact with wanted activist and ex-lawmaker Nathan Law, and whether there had been monetary transactions between them.

Nathan Law
Nathan Law. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Yu’s name has been translated from a Chinese name mentioned in local media reports.

Yu was taken away from her apartment in North Point on Friday afternoon, outlets including Ming Pao and Sing Tao reported, adding that she was familiar with members of former pro-democracy party Demosisto, of which Law was a founding member.

HKFP has reached out to the police for comment.

Wanted self-exiled democrats

Law is among the eight self-exiled activists wanted by the Hong Kong national security police, with authorities offering a bounty of HK$1 million for each of the democrats.

He announced that he had left Hong Kong after Beijing imposed the national security law in June 2020, and he is now based in the UK.

  • eight exiled activists
  • eight democrats offences

National security police last month took away Law’s parents and brother for questioning, local media reported. They were questioned about whether they had provided financial support for Law and if they were his “agents” in Hong Kong, and were released from the police station afterwards.

Besides Law, the wanted democrats are ex-lawmakers Ted Hui and Dennis Kwok; activists Anna Kwok, Elmer Yuen, Mung Siu-tat and Finn Lau; and solicitor Kevin Yam. All of them are now based abroad, including in the US, UK and Australia.

Family members and acquaintances of Anna Kwok, Dennis Kwok, Mung, and Yuen have been taken in for questioning since the warrants were issued.

The posters about the eight democrats wanted by the national security police on a notice board
The posters about the eight democrats wanted by the national security police on a notice board. Photo; Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Police said that the group had “seriously violated the national security offences” by ”calling for sanctions against local officials“ and “scheming for foreign countries to undermine Hong Kong’s status as a financial centre.”

While Western countries have denounced the arrest warrants, pro-establishment groups have thrown their support behind the police move and said the activists should be held accountable to the law.

In June 2020, Beijing inserted national security legislation directly into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – bypassing the local legislature – following a year of pro-democracy protests and unrest. It criminalised subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to transport and other infrastructure. The move gave police sweeping new powers, alarming democrats, civil society groups and trade partners, as such laws have been used broadly to silence and punish dissidents in China. However, the authorities say it has restored stability and peace to the city.

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James Lee is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press with an interest in culture and social issues. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he witnessed the institution’s transformation over the course of the 2019 extradition bill protests and after the passing of the Beijing-imposed security law.

Since joining HKFP in 2023, he has covered local politics, the city’s housing crisis, as well as landmark court cases including the 47 democrats national security trial. He was previously a reporter at The Standard where he interviewed pro-establishment heavyweights and extensively covered the Covid-19 pandemic and Hong Kong’s political overhauls under the national security law.