Hong Kong national security police have taken away self-exiled democrat Ted Hui’s in-laws for questioning, according to several local media outlets citing sources.

The ex-lawmaker’s father-in-law, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law were taken away from an apartment in Yuen Long on Tuesday morning, then taken to the Castle Peak and Yuen Long police stations, local media reported.

ted hui
Ted Hui in the UK. File Photo: May James/HKFP.

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

Citing sources, local outlets including Ming Pao, HK01, and Sing Tao reported that national security police were investigating whether Hui’s in-laws had been in contact with Hui and whether there had been any monetary transactions between them.

A man and a woman – reportedly Hui’s parents-in-law – were seen leaving Castle Peak Police Station at 2 pm on Tuesday and walking in the direction of the nearby light rail station.

In response to HKFP, police said the National Security Department took away two men and a woman for investigation.

“They are suspected of assisting a person wanted by Police to continue to commit acts and engage in activities that endanger national security,” police said.

Wanted self-exiled democrats

Hui, a former Democratic Party lawmaker, fled the city in 2020 after Beijing imposed the national security law. He now lives in Australia.

He was sentenced last September to three and a half years in jail in absentia over four counts of contempt of court for skipping bail. Earlier this February, Hui was instructed by the chief inspector of the Hong Kong Police Force to return to Hong Kong and surrender himself.

The activist, who has a law degree from the City University of Hong Kong, said in a social media post in August that he was admitted as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of South Australia. In response to a reporter days later, Secretary for Justice Paul Lam said it was an “irrefutable fact” that Hong Kong courts had found Hui guilty of at least three offenses. “When it comes to his character, I believe justice lies in people’s hearts,” he said.

Ted Hui's admittance at the Supreme Court of South Australia.
Ted Hui’s admittance at the Supreme Court of South Australia. Photo: Ted Hui’s Facebook.

News of Hong Kong authorities’ arrest warrants for eight overseas democrats made international headlines after national security police announced the move in July. Police said they were offering HK$1 million bounties for each of the wanted people, and encouraged them to come forward.

Wanted self-exiled democrats

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

National security police have previously questioned the relatives of other wanted activists, among them Law’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law.

They were questioned about whether they had provided financial support for Law and if they were his “agents” in Hong Kong. They were released from the police station afterwards.

  • eight exiled activists
  • eight democrats offences

Family members and acquaintances of Anna KwokDennis Kwok, Mungand Yuen have also been questioned since the warrants were issued.

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 is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press with an interest in culture and social issues. He has a bachelor’s degree in English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, with a minor in Journalism. He was previously a reporter at The Standard.