HKSAR Gov Clamps Down Pro-Independence Group – “Legally”

Real Hong Kong News

17 July, 2018

HKSAR Government “Legally” Clamps Down Pro-Independence Group

Andy Chan Ho-tin, Convenor of Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), received a letter hand-delivered by the police this morning at home. The letter states that the Societies Officer has asked the Secretary for Security to consider prohibiting HKNP’s operation or continue operation according to the Societies Ordinance (Chapter 151, Section 8: Prohibition of operation of societies Chapter 151, Section 8: Prohibition of operation of societies) in the “interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”. The letter further details the content of Section 8 of the Ordinance (see note below) and asked Mr Chan to send his objection or appeal to the Societies Office’s recommendation by 7th August.

The Societies Ordinance, as understood by most people of Hong Kong, was designed to target organised crime, specifically organisations set up by triads and gang. This is the first time since the 1997 handover that the ordinance has been used. In fact, according to sources, this is the first time in Hong Kong history that the ordinance is used to target political organisation.

John Lee Ka-chiu, Secretary for Security, said in a press conference early this afternoon that no decision has been made in terms of prohibiting the operation of HKNP as it is given 21 days to submit an appeal.

At the press conference, a journalist asked the Secretary for Security that given HKNP is not a registered society under the Societies Ordinance (in fact, HKNP has long been facing challenges in registering as an entity and applying for official bank account), why is the Ordinance still applicable on HKNP. John Lee replied saying that “”any organisation composed of more than one individual is considered as a society.”

John Lee at press conference_TMHK

At today’s press conference, John Lee, Secretary for Security, said “any organisation composed of more than one individual is considered as a society.” (Photo: TMHK)

Lee also stressed that rule of law is important in Hong Kong and public announcement will be made once the decision (on whether the Bureau will prohibit HKNP’s operation) is finalised.

In response to the letter, HKNP issued a statement saying that:

This came within our Party’s expectations for an increasingly insecure government, who even now hides behind the veneer of “law and order” to pelt pebbles at the Hong Kong people and her independent movement. The Hong Kong National Party has long since lost faith in any so-called Rule of Law under them, our current Chinese colonial rulers, and our loyal supporters have done the same. For what is their “national security”, their “laws”, and their banning of operations but a purely political decision to silence those who dare to represent the true interests of the Hong Kong people and nation?

The Hong Kong National and Independence Movements are, in their core, both struggles to fight back and drive out the Chinese colonisers. Today we Hong Kongers stand in opposition to our enemies, these Chinese colonisers and their puppets in the current Hong Kong government, and it is this antagonism that defines our movement. The Hong Kong National Party hereby call upon all supporters and sympathisers of the Hong Kong cause to realise this, and lend your support to any cause and act that damages the interests of China.

This immediately sparked fury amongst localists and pro-independence groups and individuals. Many said that based on this latest aggressive attempt, more political organisations or informal groups would be silenced as the HKNP will set the precedent. Baggio Leung Chung-hang, disqualified legislator currently appealing to the charge of illegal assembly at the LegCo chamber, posted on his Facebook that:

They’re now going after HKNP,  more will become targets – until the day Hongkongers vanish.
We must unit and never give in.

Baggio

Some also pointed out that the pan-dem’s famous claims suggesting that “there are still inches to defend when it comes to the rule of law in Hong Kong” is certainly invalid, as this once again shows that the rule of law is a tool the Hong Kong SAR Government uses to suppress dissents and political opinions contrary to China and its ruling Communist Party.

As stipulated in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, freedom of speech, and of assembly, are to be maintained after the 1997 handover.

Commenting on the news, Hong Kong Watch, a human rights concern group, said:

(It is a) Very worrying news which would set a dangerous precedent and have severe implications for freedom of expression if the Hong Kong Government decide to carry it through.

HKW

Hong Kong Watch says the HKSAR government’s action “set a dangerous precedent and have severe implications for freedom of expression”

Note:

The letter to Mr Chan cited the below of Section 8 of Chapter 151:

(1) The Societies Officer may recommend to the Secretary for Security to make an order prohibiting the operation or continued operation of the society or the branch—

(a) if he reasonably believes that the prohibition of the operation or continued operation of a society or a branch is necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others; or

(b) if the society or the branch is a political body that has a connection with a foreign political organization or a political organization of Taiwan.

(2) On the recommendation by the Societies Officer under subsection (1), the Secretary for Security may by order published in the Gazette prohibit the operation or continued operation of the society or the branch in Hong Kong.

(3) The Secretary for Security shall not make an order under subsection (2) without first affording the society or the branch an opportunity to be heard or to make representations in writing as the society or the branch thinks fit as to why such an order should not be made.

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