Hong Kong police arrest 5 trade union members for sedition

  • A hooded suspect is accompanied by a police officer to search evidence at office in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong's national security police on Thursday arrested five people from a trade union of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists on suspicion of conspiring to publish and distribute seditious material, in the latest arrests made amid a crackdown on dissent in the city.

    A hooded suspect is accompanied by a police officer to search evidence at office in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong's national security police on Thursday arrested five people from a trade union of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists on suspicion of conspiring to publish and distribute seditious material, in the latest arrests made amid a crackdown on dissent in the city. Associated Press

  • A hooded suspect is accompanied by police officers to search evidence at office in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong's national security police on Thursday arrested five people from a trade union of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists on suspicion of conspiring to publish and distribute seditious material, in the latest arrests made amid a crackdown on dissent in the city.

    A hooded suspect is accompanied by police officers to search evidence at office in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong's national security police on Thursday arrested five people from a trade union of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists on suspicion of conspiring to publish and distribute seditious material, in the latest arrests made amid a crackdown on dissent in the city. Associated Press

  • A hooded suspect is accompanied by police officers to search evidence at office in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong's national security police on Thursday arrested five people from a trade union of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists on suspicion of conspiring to publish and distribute seditious material, in the latest arrests made amid a crackdown on dissent in the city.

    A hooded suspect is accompanied by police officers to search evidence at office in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong's national security police on Thursday arrested five people from a trade union of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists on suspicion of conspiring to publish and distribute seditious material, in the latest arrests made amid a crackdown on dissent in the city. Associated Press

  • Police officers leave a building with a hooded suspect, center, after searching evidence in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong's national security police on Thursday arrested five people from a trade union of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists on suspicion of conspiring to publish and distribute seditious material, in the latest arrests made amid a crackdown on dissent in the city.

    Police officers leave a building with a hooded suspect, center, after searching evidence in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong's national security police on Thursday arrested five people from a trade union of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists on suspicion of conspiring to publish and distribute seditious material, in the latest arrests made amid a crackdown on dissent in the city. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this June 19. 2021, file photo, Chan Pui-man, left, associate publisher of Apple Daily newspaper, and Lam Man-chung, right, executive editor-in-chief walk out from court in Hong Kong. Hong Kong police charged two top editors and two editorial writers at Apple Daily with collusion weeks after the city's largest pro-democracy newspaper was forced to cease publication and its assets were frozen. All four were charged with conspiring to "collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security" under the city's year-old national security law and appeared in court Thursday, July 22, 2021.

    FILE - In this June 19. 2021, file photo, Chan Pui-man, left, associate publisher of Apple Daily newspaper, and Lam Man-chung, right, executive editor-in-chief walk out from court in Hong Kong. Hong Kong police charged two top editors and two editorial writers at Apple Daily with collusion weeks after the city's largest pro-democracy newspaper was forced to cease publication and its assets were frozen. All four were charged with conspiring to "collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security" under the city's year-old national security law and appeared in court Thursday, July 22, 2021. Associated Press

  • Police officers stand guard outside local court in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong police charged two top editors and two editorial writers at Apple Daily with collusion weeks after the city's largest pro-democracy newspaper was forced to cease publication and its assets were frozen. All four were charged with conspiring to "collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security" under the city's year-old national security law and appeared in court Thursday.

    Police officers stand guard outside local court in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong police charged two top editors and two editorial writers at Apple Daily with collusion weeks after the city's largest pro-democracy newspaper was forced to cease publication and its assets were frozen. All four were charged with conspiring to "collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security" under the city's year-old national security law and appeared in court Thursday. Associated Press

  • Police officers stand guard outside local court in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong police charged two top editors and two editorial writers at Apple Daily with collusion weeks after the city's largest pro-democracy newspaper was forced to cease publication and its assets were frozen. All four were charged with conspiring to "collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security" under the city's year-old national security law and appeared in court Thursday.

    Police officers stand guard outside local court in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong police charged two top editors and two editorial writers at Apple Daily with collusion weeks after the city's largest pro-democracy newspaper was forced to cease publication and its assets were frozen. All four were charged with conspiring to "collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security" under the city's year-old national security law and appeared in court Thursday. Associated Press

  • A man walks toward the main entrance to local court in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong police charged two top editors and two editorial writers at Apple Daily with collusion weeks after the city's largest pro-democracy newspaper was forced to cease publication and its assets were frozen. All four were charged with conspiring to "collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security" under the city's year-old national security law and appeared in court Thursday.

    A man walks toward the main entrance to local court in Hong Kong Thursday, July 22, 2021. Hong Kong police charged two top editors and two editorial writers at Apple Daily with collusion weeks after the city's largest pro-democracy newspaper was forced to cease publication and its assets were frozen. All four were charged with conspiring to "collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security" under the city's year-old national security law and appeared in court Thursday. Associated Press

 
 
Posted7/22/2021 7:00 AM

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong police on Thursday arrested five trade union members over children's books they described as seditious, and a court denied bail for four editors and journalists held on charges of endangering national security, as part of a widening crackdown on dissent in the city.

The five who were arrested are members of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists, according to local media reports.

 

The association published three children's books that Li Kwai-wah, a senior superintendent of the national security department, said have seditious intent.

The books feature stories that revolve around a village of sheep that has to deal with wolves from a different village. The sheep take action like going on strike or escaping by boat, according to the synopses published on the association's website.

Li said that the stories referenced the 12 Hong Kong activists who were arrested at sea while trying to flee the city, after most of them were charged in connection with massive anti-government protests in 2019. There was also a story about wolves who are 'cruel and try to occupy the area' where the sheep live, and try to kill them, Li said.

The 2019 rallies calling for more civil rights and universal suffrage shook Hong Kong for months, often descending into violence between police and protesters. Beijing responded last year with a sweeping national security law that critics say restricts freedoms promised to the former British colony that are not found on mainland China.

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The publishing of such books 'brings hatred against the government and administration of justice, and (incites) violence to others,' Li said. He added that the books targeted children between the ages of 4 and 7.

Police said that also froze 160,000 Hong Kong dollars ($20,600) in assets linked to the union.

On Thursday, a Hong Kong court denied bail to four top editors and journalists from the now-defunct Apple Daily pro-democracy newspaper. They were arrested Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to collude with foreign powers to endanger national security.

So far, eight former employees have been arrested. Apply Daily ceased operations in June after $2.3 million in assets were frozen and police raided the newspaper's offices, confiscating hard drives and laptops.

The national security law criminalizes secessionism, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion in the city's affairs. Since it was implemented, more than 100 pro-democracy supporters have been arrested and many others have fled abroad.

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