Four HKU students arrested ‘for advocating terrorism’

Police said on Wednesday they have arrested four University of Hong Kong students on suspicion of advocating terrorism by mourning a man who stabbed an officer before killing himself on July 1.

Steve Li, a senior superintendent with the force’s national security department, said the students spoke during a student union council meeting days after the incident during which a motion was passed to “rationalise, beautify and glorify the indiscriminate attack and encourage people to commit suicide”.

He added the council publicised the motion on social platforms afterwards.

The council later withdrew the motion that thanked the assailant’s “sacrifice” and apologised.

“Definitely we will mention the subsequent acts of the students, including [their] apologising and all that stuff to the court,” Li said.

“But unfortunately because we are law enforcement officers, we are just, with reference to the law, doing our [job], so… we have to arrest them.”

Police accused the four suspects, aged from 18 to 20, of contravening Article 27 of the national security law, which says anyone “who advocates terrorism or incites the commission of a terrorist activity shall be guilty of an offence”.

RTHK has learnt that former student union president Kwok Wing-ho and head of the council, Cheung King-sang, were among those arrested.

Li said they will also interview others who attended the council meeting, including those who voted for the motion or described the attacker as a “martyr”.

The university has banned the students from the campus.

Speaking to the media in Legco, Secretary for Security Chris Tang said, “Freedom of speech is safeguarded under the Basic Law and the national security law. But if you have committed an offence, there’s no excuse.

“Whatever background you are, whatever professional you are, we will do it fairly and impartially in accordance with evidence.”

When asked about the case in Legco, Chief Secretary John Lee said there’s a need to build a law-abiding city and culture to ensure Hong Kong people have a lovely city to live in.
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Last updated: 2021-08-18 HKT 15:59