Wife of activist becomes latest suspect to be arrested in local national security case

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Background picture: Tonyee Chow. Insert picture from left to right: Lau Ka-yee, Katrina Chan Kim-kan,Dr. Lee Ying-chi, Kwan Chun-bong (back).

29th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong police have expanded their crackdown under the national security law, making a new arrest today. The individual detained is a 53-year-old woman, Poon Yau-chui, the wife of Kwan Chun-bong, a former standing committee member of the now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China. This latest arrest increases the total number of individuals detained in the case to seven.

The ongoing law enforcement actions relate to accusations of seditious intent under the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, which was enacted by the Legislative Council on 23rd March. Among those previously arrested were notable figures including Tonyee Chow Hang-tung, a former vice-chair of the Hong Kong Alliance. Chow, who is already detained at Tai Lam Centre for Women on related charges, is accused of orchestrating the publication of content deemed seditious on the Facebook page “Chow Hang-tung Club.” This occurred as the 35th anniversary of the 4th June Tiananmen Square crackdown approaches, a date that remains highly sensitive in Hong Kong.

The police allege that since April, the arrested individuals, including Chow and her associates, have used various platforms to disseminate posts that could incite discontent against the central and Hong Kong governments and the judiciary. These posts reportedly aimed to encourage participation in unlawful activities.

The operation has included searches at the homes of the arrestees, where electronic devices believed to be used in the publication of the contentious posts were seized. Security Secretary Chris Tang emphasised that the arrests were not just for criticism of the government but for allegedly using the upcoming sensitive date to provoke actions that could endanger national security.

The government has reiterated its tolerance for constructive criticism but maintains a strict stance against actions crossing into sedition, which are punishable by up to seven years in prison under the new ordinance. The recent actions highlight the government’s commitment to enforcing the law and safeguarding national security against potential threats.