Richmond resident, former Sing Tao editor on Hong Kong’s wanted list
A Richmond resident and former editor of a Chinese-language newspaper has been placed on the Hong Kong Security Bureau’s (HKSB) wanted list earlier this month.
Victor Ho was one of three activists placed on the list with the HKSB announcing in a news release that it “severely condemns” them for forming a “Hong Kong Parliament” overseas and subversion under the National Security Law.
The National Security Law was imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing in response to pro-democracy protests in 2019.
According to the Chinese government, people found to have fallen foul of the law “shall be sentenced to life imprisonment or fixed-term imprisonment” for a determined number of years.
HKSB made the announcement shortly after Ho and other activists joined a news conference in Toronto on July 27 to reveal the establishment of a committee for a Hong Kong “parliament in exile” that would go against Beijing’s crackdown on political freedom.
“On the basis of Article 37 of the National Security Law, Police shall spare no efforts in pursuing the cases in accordance with the law in order to bring the offenders to justice,” reads the HKSB news release.
“The Security Bureau appeals to the public to disassociate themselves from individuals contravening the Hong Kong National Security Law, and the illegal activities those individuals organized, so as to avoid bearing any unnecessary legal risks.”
However, Ho told the Richmond News that it was a surprise to find out he was wanted by the HKSB, although he is not too worried and actually wants to “thank” the security bureau for it.
“I never received any notifications directly by the Hong Kong government, but for them to put my name on that list means people in Hong Kong and internationally will know what we are doing,” said Ho.
He added that, because the city’s government has tight control of the media, it is difficult for many local publications to write anything related to democracy without punishment.
“The government basically volunteered themselves to announce that we are fighting for political democracy.”
Meanwhile, a group of Canadians with Hong Kong ties have written an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly to show their discontent regarding the Hong Kong government’s actions.
“It is appalling that a Canadian citizen exercising his freedom of expression and freedom of association in Canada, with his rights and freedom entrusted by our constitution, could be charged and wanted by a foreign government,” reads the letter.
Being on Hong Kong’s wanted list has “serious and unpredictable implications” for Ho and his family members, according to the aforementioned group’s spokespersons Bill Chu and Thekla Lit.
“While Victor is relatively safe in Canada, we are concerned for his safety were he to travel to countries that have extradition agreements with Hong Kong and China,” they said.
Canada suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong shortly after the National Security Law was put in place, which is a reassurance for the group.
However, members of the group find the incident alarming that Canadian citizens could land themselves on the Hong Kong government’s wanted list for exercising their freedom of expression.
Chu and Lit added that the “incident is a serious violation of democratic rights here in Canada, as others following Victor may similarly face persecution from the Hong Kong and Chinese government(s) for lawful expressions and actions in Canada.”