Hong Kong briefly took in three family members of exiled democracy activist Nathan Law for questioning on Tuesday, a week after authorities issued a bounty on him and seven others accused of breaching the city’s national security law.
Police confirmed to AFP that its national security department took away two men and a woman for investigation, without naming them.
“They are suspected of assisting persons wanted by police to continue to commit acts and engage in activities that endanger national security,” the police said in a statement.
Authorities last week offered rewards of HK$1 million ($128,000) for information leading to the arrests of eight prominent democracy activists now based abroad, accusing them of subversion, foreign collusion and other crimes.
A police source earlier told AFP that officers brought in Law’s parents and elder brother without formally arresting them, adding that Law’s flat was searched.
The trio were taken in so that police could “learn whether they have provided financial support for Law and whether they are Law’s agents in Hong Kong,” the source said.
“Law’s family members were allowed to leave after giving statements to police.”
City leader John Lee on Tuesday repeated his call to the public to stay away from the wanted activists and to treat them like “rats in the street”.
“Police have received some information and will continue to gather intelligence, and enforce the law strictly and relentlessly,” Lee told reporters.
Law did not respond to AFP’s request for comment.
The move on Tuesday came days after Hong Kong arrested five men for supporting the wanted activists.
Law, who was granted asylum in Britain in 2021, had previously said in response to the bounties that Hong Kong abused the concept of national security to suppress dissident voices.
After fleeing Hong Kong, Law said in 2020 that he had cut ties with his family and that he was not in contact with them.
The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia — places where the eight wanted activists reside — have issued statements criticising the bounties.
Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong in 2020 following months of huge and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in the finance hub.
Police have arrested 260 people under the national security law so far, with 79 of them convicted or awaiting sentencing in Hong Kong.