Hong Kong passports of six 'absconders' cancelled using new law

International |  IANS  | Published :

Shenzhen, China, June 12 (IANS/DPA) Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday said they are cancelling the passports of six activists who "absconded" to the UK, using powers from a controversial new national security bill in the Chinese special administrative region.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement that the six men "continue to engage in acts and activities endangering national security" after they fled the country and were therefore put on the wanted list in 2023.

The Hong Kong passports of all six individuals, which include former lawmaker and politician Nathan Law who fled to the UK in 2020, would be cancelled, the government said.

The activists would also see any business dealings in Hong Kong cancelled, and it would become illegal to provide them with funds, financial assets, or handle their economic resources.

"These lawless wanted criminals are hiding in the United Kingdom and continue to blatantly engage in activities that endanger national security," a Hong Kong government spokesperson said.

"They also make scaremongering remarks to smear and slander the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. More so, they continue to collude with external forces to protect their evil deeds. We therefore have taken such measure to give them a strong blow."

The measures were possible under Hong Kong's new security law, which was adopted by the pro-Beijing Legislative Council in March and gives the authorities of the former British colony further powers to take action against critical voices.

It follows the security law introduced in 2020 after the suppression of the democracy movement in Hong Kong.

The controversial legislation saw Beijing tightening its grip on the special administrative region, and restricted many of the freedoms previously enjoyed by Hong Kong's 7 million inhabitants.

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