Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said Tuesday (July 6) that some misconceptions among the Hong Kong public pose a risk to the city’s national security. She called on parents, teachers and religious leaders to pay attention to the behavior of their teenage children and to report any violations to the authorities.
Reuters said the political system in Hong Kong’s financial center has changed dramatically since the city imposed a national security law a year ago, rapidly shifting to an authoritarian society where Hong Kongers’ participation in political life has declined sharply and authorities have purged from the ranks of public officials those it considers disloyal to Beijing.
Carrie Lam was disappointed Tuesday before attending a regular executive session that some Hong Kong residents mourned the death of a 50-year-old man who committed suicide after stabbing a police officer on July 1. July 1 this year marks the 24th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China and the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
Speaking to the media, Mrs. Lam said that for a long time, the public has been influenced by some wrong ideas and subscribed to the so-called “lawlessness and righteousness” concept that can be used by any illegal means to achieve justice. She said that the risk of threatening people’s lives and property still exists, and the sources of risk include foreign powers, people’s weak awareness of the law, and the lack of regulation of social media, including the dissemination of anti-police messages and violation of human nature. She said “black violence” has become a covert act.
Mrs Lam called on government departments and public institutions to take up their responsibility to maintain national security and not to allow words or actions that glorify violence.
Just an hour or so after Mrs. Lam’s speech, Hong Kong police announced that a suspected terrorist activity had been uncovered. Hong Kong police arrested nine people involved in the case – six high school students, a university administrator, a secondary school employee and a driver – at a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Police said the men belonged to a Hong Kong independence group called the “City of Light”.
Police said the men rented the hotel room as a laboratory for making explosives and found small amounts of triacetone peroxide (TATP) and air guns in the room. Police also froze HK$600,000 of the money involved in the case.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the national security law was created in response to the anti-government protest demonstrations that swept Hong Kong in 2019, and that once the law was in place, authorities used it as a reason to arrest many prominent activists and force others from the pro-democracy community to flee overseas.
If the allegations made by Hong Kong police against the young men arrested at the hotel this time are true, the Associated Press said, they appear to represent one of the more radical wings of the protest demonstration movement in terms of their stance. They are calling for greater democratic freedoms in Hong Kong.
Senior Superintendent Lee Kwai-wah of the National Security Division of the Hong Kong Police Force accused these men at a press conference that they were planning a terrorist attack, targeting courthouses, cul-de-sacs, railroads, refuse collection points, etc. They chose these locations in order to have the greatest social impact. The plan of action for the attack was carried out earlier this month and included the use of car bombs.