The police in Hong Kong made their first arrests on Wednesday under a new national security law imposed a day earlier by China’s central government, as thousands of people defied tear gas and pepper pellets to protest against it.
Police said nine people were arrested under the law, including a man with a Hong Kong independence flag and a woman holding a sign displaying the British flag and calling for Hong Kong’s independence.
Others were detained for possessing items advocating independence. Further details were not immediately available. Hong Kong police said on Facebook that they arrested more than 300 people on various charges, including unlawful assembly, possession of weapons and violating the national security law.
The arrests come as thousands took to the streets on Wednesday on the 23rd anniversary of Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997. For the first time, police banned this year’s annual march. Protesters shouted slogans, lambasted police and held up signs condemning the Chinese government and the new security law.
The new security law deepened concerns in Hong Kong and abroad about the semi-autonomous territory’s future. Any person taking part in secessionist activities, such as shouting slogans or holding up banners and flags calling for the city’s independence, is violating the law regardless of whether violence is used.
Approx no. of people arrested on Wednesday
Taiwan opens HK migration office, UK offers citizenship
Taiwan on Wednesday opened an office to facilitate migration from Hong Kong. Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council minister said the office would assist Hong Kong professionals seeking to move to the island for a range of purposes, including education and business. Britain said a citizenship route will now be offered to Hong Kong’s British National (Overseas) passport holders. “The new law constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” UK PM Boris Johnson said.
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