Barry Ma Kin-yin, chairman of local radical group The Faculty of Orchid Gardening was arrested after he posted on his Facebook page that all five members of a columnist’s family should be killed.
Ma attacked former Ming Pao columnist Chris Wat Wing-yin for her pro-police stance in the recent saga of the wrongful arrest of an autistic man.
He was arrested on suspicion of accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent, Apple Daily reported Thursday.
Police confirmed that Ma, 47, was arrested in Tai Po Wednesday.
Two other members of Orchid Gardening were arrested, for allegedly assaulting police officers, Sing Tao Daily reported.
Chan Man, 63, was arrested in Tin Shui Wai Wednesday and Ho Kai-ming, 58, in Tai Po early Thursday.
Ta Kung Po reported that on an online talk show Ma and Chan had called for suicidal people to kill a few police officers.
While video recordings of the show have now been removed from the web, reports said the arrests were related to those remarks.
Eric Cheung, principal lecturer in the law faculty at the University of Hong Kong, said the offense of accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent was originally aimed at computer hackers, but the law has been used more broadly as it was written rather vaguely.
There is a large degree of subjectivity in determining what is dishonest, Cheung told Apple Daily.
He said police should consider pressing criminal intimidation charges if there is enough evidence to make a case, as using a charge of accessing computer with criminal or dishonest intent could raise the question whether the authorities were trying to suppress freedom of speech.
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