Organizers of the annual June 4 vigil will submit a reply to the police’s national security department today, but not hand in information they are seeking, its vice chairwoman says.
Police have accused the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China of being a “foreign agent” and demanded it provide information about its membership, operations and finances on or before today.
But the alliance’s Tonyee Chow Hang-tung, who is also a barrister, said the group will deliver a reply letter to police headquarters in Wan Chai but will not submit any information.
She said several online media have mistakenly reported that the alliance will “give in” and submit information to police.
Chow said the content of the letter would be the same as what the alliance said in its press conference on Sunday in which she said the police request was “absurd and an abuse of power.”
She also said then that police did not provide any proof to show the alliance is a “foreign agent” nor did they explain how it has been connected to national security offenses.
Police had warned that activists could be jailed for six months and fined HK$100,000 if they fail to submit the information on time.
Chow said on a radio program the alliance will not submit the requested information as it is not a “foreign agent” and the security department has no factual basis for such accusation.
She denied accusations made by pro-Beijing media Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po that she and other core members of the alliance had close ties with foreign anti-China forces.
Reports from the two newspapers said Chow was a former director at Amnesty International Hong Kong, which allegedly has ties with the US group National Endowment for Democracy.
“Amnesty International is not an agent of any country nor an agent for the National Endowment for Democracy,” Chow said.
Speaking on the same radio program, executive councillor and senior counsel Ronny Tong Ka-wah said the public has the responsibility to assist in police crime investigations.
“Hong Kong citizens have a responsibility to avoid crimes from taking place. I understand some people think they should not assist in an investigation due to political reasons or their emotions [but] citizens should not neglect their civic responsibility,” Tong said.
He added many laws allow police to infringe privacy when they have reasonable suspicion to prevent crimes from taking place, such as conducting a search in people’s homes or checking a person’s identity card number. If people who are being searched deny the police request, the issue then has to be dealt with in court.
The alliance plans to hold an extraordinary general meeting on September 25 to discuss whether it should disband.
Pro-Beijing party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said the alliance’s potential dissolution is “nobody’s fault but their own” and “they deserve it.”
Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying wrote on Facebook that the best way to investigate the alliance is to follow the money trail. Once national security police obtain information, they will be able to find the “big fish” behind the organization, he said.
Separately, 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund – which assists people arrested during the social unrest – has stopped accepting donations and has a closing balance of HK$7.21 million.
The fund earlier hoped to raise HK$25 million before it stops operation on October 31.
The fund was ordered on Wednesday to provide information on its donors to national security police over suspected collusion with foreign agents.