Hong Kong police release U.S. lawyer with democratic figures detained

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Following an extraordinary raid by police, John Clancey was released pending further investigation

One of the 53 people detained on Wednesday in Hong Kong, American lawyer John Clancey, was released pending further investigation without charge. According to local media, after an unprecedented crackdown on lawmakers, activists and election campaigners on charges that holding a democratic election violates the National Security Law (NSL) enforced by the Chinese government, the police are scheduled to begin releasing the majority of those detained on Thursday. People, including former politicians, researchers, social workers, and students, will be released on bail and will likely have to report back on a regular basis. The arrest of Clancey, a prominent Hong Kong lawyer and U.S. resident, marked the first use of the National Security Law (NSL) against a foreigner. Clancey, who is the chairman of the Asian Human Rights Commission and treasurer of a party linked to the Democratic primary at the center of the allegations, was detained when police raided the law firm of Ho, Tse, Wai and Partners on Wednesday, a source at his firm told Reuters. China’s ‘misled world’ on Hong Kong security law, says Dominic RaabRead more Activists Joshua Wong, who is already serving a 13-month term, and Tam Tak Chi, who is in pre-trial custody, were also re-arrested on similar charges, local media announced Thursday. In what was the largest mass arrest since the National Security Law was implemented in June, about 1,000 police officers were mobilized to search 72 premises and arrest 53 people, including 45 men and eight women, aged between 23 and 79, for ‘subversion of state power.’

It was the first mass arrest since June’s National Security Law was passed. This more than doubled the number of people detained for suspected offences, and additional arrests were not ruled out by the police. Fifty-three individuals were prosecuted last year in unofficial primaries for their participation – including as candidates. The primaries attracted 600,000 Hong Kongers to vote for candidates running on a “35+” pledge: to gain a majority in the 70-seat legislature and oppose government bills to compel the resignation of Lam. Authorities suggested at the time that they found it an act of subversion under the NSL, which carries a life sentence for the most serious offences, and confirmed Wednesday. “The idea was called “highly absurd” by Alan Leong, a lawyer and member of the Civic Party, and said the right to vote against legislation is enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law. The allegations were also challenged by pro-establishment lawmaker and National People’s Congress deputy Michael Tien on Thursday. They claim that, regardless of the material, they will oppose all [bills]… but the main condition for [the NSL]is that they use unlawful means to achieve that,”They say they will oppose all [bills], regardless of the content … but the main condition for [the NSL]is that they use unlawful means to achieve that,” So the question is how it can be unconstitutional to have a primary… even existing parties have held their own primaries. “So the question is how holding a primary can be unlawful … even established parties have held their own primaries. ” If prosecutors were unable to obtain convictions, it would be a “slap in the face” for the government because it would show that they do not comprehend the law and split Hong Kong society further, he said. Veteran activist Lee Cheuk-yan told the Guardian that the arrests were “absurd.” “[The alleged crimes] are not remotely something that concerns national security, but they are still using the law,”

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