Date
21 September 2017
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok (right) said giving donations to the Occupy campaign may be illegal, but legislator Ronny Tong said he is not sure  if there is any law that prohibits private groups from accepting foreign donations. Photos: HKEJ
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok (right) said giving donations to the Occupy campaign may be illegal, but legislator Ronny Tong said he is not sure if there is any law that prohibits private groups from accepting foreign donations. Photos: HKEJ

Donations for Occupy campaign may be illegal: security chief

Anyone who assists or persuades others to participate in the illegal occupation of streets, including through donations, might be breaking the law, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said.

Speaking at a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday, Lai said the law enforcement department will follow up on these cases, even if Article 23 of the Basic Law on national security law has not yet been implemented through legislation, RTHK reported.

Article 23 requires Hong Kong to implement laws against treason, secession and subversion. Efforts to enact the legislation were shelved in 2003 amid widespread opposition.

Legislator Wong Kwok-kin of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, asked Lai how the government intends to investigate the funding sources of the Occupy campaign in the absence of a national security law.

Lai said Hong Kong has the responsibility to enact a national security law but it might not be the right time to push forward such legislation.

Ronny Tong of the Civic Party said he is not sure if there is any law that prohibits non-government organizations from accepting donations from overseas.

Lai said it depends on the intention of the donation and the channel used in making the donation. Whether anyone has broken the law should be judged case by case, he said.

The security chief cited the case of a man who was arrested last month for calling on netizens to join illegal assemblies in Admiralty and Mong Kok as well as calling on them to occupy the railways.

Legislator Charles Mok voiced concern that Section 161, Chapter 200 of the Criminal Ordinance, which refers to access to computer with criminal or dishonest intent, might be abused by authorities to monitor online conversations and turn it into an internet version of Article 23.

Lai assured the legislators that there has been no abuse of the law. A total of 114 people were penalized under that particular section of the law between 2011 and 2013, he added.

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