The mass arrest of Hong Kong’s opposition figures

By ,

Published July 12, 2021

The fortunes of Hong Kong’s opposition camp, once a robust and potent force, have plunged dramatically in the year since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the city.

Most of the camp’s prominent leaders have either been jailed or remanded in custody for their participation in the 2019 anti-government protests or for activism, while some have fled overseas. A number also announced they had quit politics for good.

Police warned repeatedly there would be no tolerance for law breaking and they would act decisively against potential offenders, whether of the national security law or other ordinances, to maintain order in Hong Kong.

Exactly a year ago, the opposition camp held an unofficial primary election for the now-postponed Legislative Council elections in an ambitious bid to boost its chances to win its first majority in the 70-member legislature.

But six months later, the bloc found itself caught in the throes of an unprecedented crisis. A total of 47 activists who had organised or participated in the primary - many of them veterans and rising stars - were charged under the national security law over their roles in what prosecutors described as a subversive plot to paralyse the government. Most of them were denied bail and are now awaiting trial.

Opposition activists arrested

A Post tally found at least 173 activists in the opposition camp - including 108 district councillors - have been arrested for various offences since the anti-government protests erupted in 2019.

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Councillors arrested by district

A total of 108 opposition district councillors - many of whom resigned ahead of the government’s new oath-taking requirements - have been arrested, charged or fined for breaching social-distancing rules since winning election in 2019. Among the 18 district councils, Central and Western appears to be the most heavily hit, with almost half - or 46.7 per cent - of its members facing arrest and prosecution. Sai Kung District Council, the next hardest-hit, has one-third of its members in trouble.

 Councillor arrested or charged      
 Councillor not arrested or charged

Offences involved

Overall arrests and prosecutions

More than 10,000 people have been arrested over their roles in the 2019 anti-government protests, according to police figures.

(As of April 30)

* Prosecuted for taking part in a riot, unlawful assembly, wounding, common assault, arson, criminal damage, assaulting or obstructing a police officer and possession of offensive weapons.

National security law
Since the imposition of the legislation on June 30 last year, 107 people - 88 men and 19 women - aged between 15 and 79, have been arrested for allegedly committing acts and engaging in activities that endangered national security. Among them, 55 are opposition activists who participated in the unofficial primary election last July.

Research and information: Jeffie Lam
Additional research: Nadia Lam
Additional illustrations: Ka Kuen Lau
Creative Director Darren Long

Sources: News reports, Hong Kong Police

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