8th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) The National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force executed an enforcement operation on the morning of 8th December, resulting in the arrest of a 77-year-old man believed to Koo Sze-yiu in Cheung Sha Wan. The arrest was made on suspicion of “attempting to do or making any preparation to do an act or acts with seditious intention,” contravening Section 9 and 10 of the Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200).
The individual in question is currently under detention for further inquiries as the investigation unfolds.
The police emphasise the severity of the offence, reminding the public that “attempting to do or making any preparation to do an act or acts with seditious intention” is a serious crime. According to the law, offenders are subject to imprisonment for two years on the first conviction and three years on subsequent conviction. The public is strongly urged to adhere to the law and refrain from engaging in activities that contravene legal statutes.
Koo Sze-yiu, also known as “Long Beard,” is a prominent Hong Kong activist who gained notoriety for his numerous arrests and protests. Initially a Maoist, Koo’s political views shifted after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, leading him to become an anti-communist activist.
Koo’s early life involved working as an apprentice in a Macanese shipyard. He actively participated in leftist movements, including storming the Macau Government office and engaging in clashes with the police during the 12-3 incident in 1966. However, Koo eventually fled to Hong Kong after feeling betrayed by his colleagues in the Macao Federation of Trade Unions.
After the Tiananmen Square crackdown, Koo devoted himself to Hong Kong’s social movements. He frequently participated in protests, such as the 1 July marches, both before and after the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. Koo often protested alongside Leung Kwok-hung, another left-wing activist known for carrying a handmade coffin during demonstrations as a symbol of disapproval toward Beijing.
Throughout his activism, Koo faced multiple convictions and jail sentences. These included fines and imprisonment for disorderly conduct during Jiang Zemin’s visit to Hong Kong in 1998, protests during Legislative Council proceedings in 2000, and desecrating national and Hong Kong flags during various protests against human rights abuses and Chinese government policies. Koo remained steadfast in his activism, even after being diagnosed with end-stage colorectal cancer in 2020.
In 2021, Koo received his tenth jail sentence for desecrating the Chinese flag and expressing support for democrats charged with illegal assembly. He was arrested again in 2022 under the security law for suspected incitement of subversion and was subsequently sentenced to nine months in prison. Koo’s persistent activism and confrontations with authorities have made him a prominent figure in Hong Kong’s political landscape.