Hong Kong Police May Take Action Against Pro-Democracy Group
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police may take action against a pro-democracy group that organized some of the biggest marches during the city’s unprecedented unrest in 2019, as authorities continue to arrest and prosecute those responsible for the protests.
The police force has not ruled out taking enforcement action against the Civil Human Rights Front after it failed to submit documents requested by officers, Police Commissioner Chris Tang said, according to local broadcaster Now TV.
The police had told the group in late April that it had been operating without proper registration under the Societies Ordinance since 2006. As part of its investigation, the police asked the group to provide details on all the protests it had organized since then, as well as their source of income and related bank accounts.
CHRF, which organized rallies during the protests two years ago that involved hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, has refused to hand over any information citing the freedom of association promised in the city’s Basic Law.
The group could face a fine for not providing the information on time, while any organizer of an “unlawful society” could face up to three years in jail, although police are not currently alleging the group is unlawful. In 2018, the government cited the same ordinance to outlaw the pro-independence National Party on national security grounds.
The moves against one of Hong Kong’s most well-known pro-democracy groups comes as the authorities continue to crack down on freedoms in the city.
With Beijing’s backing, the local Hong Kong government has disqualified lawmakers, delayed a local election, and prosecuted dozens of pro-democracy politicians and prominent activists who took part in landmark demonstrations that rocked the city two years ago.
Beijing’s imposition of a national security law last year and more recent moves to dramatically alter the city’s electoral process aim to make sure those protests never happen again.
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