Date
10 December 2018
Security Secretary John Lee is said to have given a Sept. 11 deadline to the Hong Kong National Party to submit a written defense as to why the government should not order a ban on the pro-independence group. Photo: HKEJ
Security Secretary John Lee is said to have given a Sept. 11 deadline to the Hong Kong National Party to submit a written defense as to why the government should not order a ban on the pro-independence group. Photo: HKEJ

Govt says received new ‘evidence’ to support ban on HKNP

The police have found new information that would further support the case for a ban on the pro-independence group Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), according to the Security Bureau.

In a statement late Wednesday, a bureau spokesman said the assistant societies officer who had in July suggested a ban on the operations of the HKNP, based on the provisions of Section 8 of the Societies Ordinance, has provided additional information on Tuesday in further support of her recommendation.

Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu received the new information sent by the officer, bolstering the case for a ban on HKNP, a localist political party that was established in 2016 with an aim of pushing for Hong Kong’s independence, according to the statement.

Following the new information, the security chief has written to the legal representatives of HKNP, the party’s co-founder and convenor Andy Chan Ho-tin, and its spokesman, to outline the new evidence that has been gathered, the statement said.

The HKNP has until Sept. 11 to submit a written defense as to why the government should not order the ban.

Lee had earlier, on July 17, told the media that he was giving the HKNP 21 days to offer its arguments against the proposed ban. He later granted the HKNP’s request to extend the deadline, originally set for Aug. 7, to Sept. 4, which is now apparently extended further to Sept. 11.

There has been speculation that emergence of the new evidence had something to do with a meeting between a delegation of Hong Kong disciplinary forces led by Lee and Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng in Beijing on Monday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal noted.

According to Lee, Han, while praising the work of Hong Kong disciplinary forces, explained how indispensable it is for the disciplined services to correctly understand the Basic Law as well as act in accordance with the law in Hong Kong.

Han, according to Lee, stressed there would be “no tolerance of any attempt to threaten the sovereignty of the state”. Beijing will support the Hong Kong Security Bureau in dealing with individual cases according to law, the official said.

In response to a query by online news outlet Stand News, Chan said he has been made aware of the alleged new information in relation to the proposed ban on his group, but said he has not read the government message closely.

Although the independence advocate was pretty sure that Lee would pass an order banning the HKNP, the group has not made up its mind as to whether it should submit a defense, Chan said.

The HKNP convenor believes Lee must have faced pressure from Han, which then led to the latest police action on the matter.

A source from the Security Bureau denied such accusation, saying the meeting with Han was purely for the purpose of “cultural exchange” and not related to security work at all.

However, the source told HKEJ that it is normal for a top official to express concern about a hot case in society.

While the Security Bureau refused to unveil details of the purported new evidence, on the ground that the deadline is not reached yet, it is believed to include the independence-oriented speech given by Chan at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) on Aug. 14 and a letter he sent to Donald Trump four days later to urge the US President to expel China and Hong Kong from the World Trade Organization.

Calling the two incidents very important evidence, Executive Councilor Ronny Tong Ka-wah said the police must have used them in the move to get the HKNP banned.

The senior counsel, however, expects the deadline for HKNP to submit its defense to get extended further, beyond the current Sept. 11 schedule.

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TL/JC/RC

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