In response, the force said it would take follow-up action against any group that fails to comply with a legal requirement to submit information.
The Security Bureau also issued a “solemn warning”, saying those who refuse to provide information in accordance with the law could be fined or jailed.
Last month, the police wrote to the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, demanding information by Tuesday and accusing the group of acting as a “foreign agent”.
In a press conference, members of the Alliance said they’re aware of the risk of being prosecuted for not cooperating, but they refuse to help in what they say is an attempt by the authorities to “spread fear”.
“They’re trying to intimidate the people who participate in the social movement. And we now clearly say that this sort of intimidation will stop at us. We will not transmit that fear through our compliance,” the group’s vice chairperson, Chow Hang-tung, said
She accused the police of abusing their power, saying the information request was “clearly a fishing attempt to construct stories and conspiracies” against civil groups, to invoke fear.
Chow also rejected the force’s allegation that the Alliance is “a foreign agent”.
“If you must say that we were agents of anything, we’re agents of Hong Kong people’s conscience – not the agent of any national interest of any country,” she said.
Chow added that members will meet on September 25 to discuss whether to disband. The resolution will require support from three quarters of those who attend.
Several hours after the press conference, the Security Bureau issued a statement, saying it supports the police in taking enforcement action against those who refuse to provide information.
“Endangering national security is a very serious crime. The damage is serious… in order to effectively prevent and suppress offences endangering national security, law enforcement officers need to obtain relevant information about certain foreign or Taiwan political organisations and foreign or Taiwan agents”, a bureau spokesperson said.
“Schedule 5 of the Implementation Rules already stipulates the outcome of not complying with the requirement to provide information, including fine and imprisonment. The law enforcement department will no doubt follow up according to the law in case there are any violations of the law. To avoid bearing the legal risk, the organisation concerned should immediately turn back before it is too late.”
Last updated: 2021-09-05 HKT 15:33