Prominent pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow was arrested at her Hong Kong home on Monday under China’s new national security law, according to reports.
A masked Chow was seen in a video being arrested and whisked off in a vehicle as authorities broadened their enforcement of the law after earlier detaining nine other people, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai.
“It’s now confirmed that Agnes Chow has been arrested for ‘inciting secession’ under the national security law,” which took effect June 30, her Facebook account announced about the national security sweep.
Nathan Law, a fellow activist who is in Britain, said in a tweet Monday that “we are still acquiring information about the content of the arrests. Horrible day.”
The arrests come two days after Chinese and Hong Kong officials shrugged off sanctions imposed by the US and showed Beijing’s determination to enforce the new law and curb dissent in the semi-autonomous city after months of pro-democracy demonstrations.
Lai’s arrest and the search of his Next Digital group — which operates the Apple Daily, a pro-democracy tabloid — marked the first time the law was used against news media, sparking fears that authorities are suppressing press freedoms.
The arrests of Lai and Chow came as China announced sanctions on 11 US politicians — including Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — in an escalating battle between the two powers over technology, security, trade and human rights.
Lai, 71, is an outspoken pro-democracy figure who regularly assails China’s authoritarian rule and Hong Kong’s government.
Mark Simon, a Next Digital executive, said Lai was charged with collusion with foreign powers, adding that authorities searched the homes of Lai and his son. They also detained several other members of the media company, he said.
“We are completely shocked by what’s happening now, with the arrest and followed by the ongoing raid inside the headquarters of Next Digital,” said Chris Yeung, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association.
“With the passage of the national security law and the really tough powers given to the police in their operations, we have seen now what we call ‘white terror’ become a reality, which will affect media organizations and journalists’ reporting,” he added.
Last year, Lai met Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the White House to discuss a since-withdrawn bill that would have allowed criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial.
With Post wires
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