July 15, 2022
HONG KONG – The National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police on Wednesday arrested four people who were fleeing the law, hiding in an industrial building in Tsuen Wan and planning to flee the city.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Chief Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah said the four arrested people, aged between 16 and 24, are charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly or riot between June and October 2019. When they failed to appear in court, arrest warrants were issued for them.
After being turned away by the US consulate, the four people arrested were hidden by an organization in an industrial building in Tsuen Wan for about a year, police said.
Li said a social media organization was helping the four flee the city. The group claimed that it would help them and had been asking them for money since the beginning of 2020.
The organization persuaded the four to seek asylum at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong in October 2020, Li added.
After being turned away by the US consulate, the four arrested people were hidden by the organization in the Tsuen Wan industrial building for about a year. Li said they and lived in an “extremely harsh” windowless environment in their hideout until their arrest.
Since the beginning of this year, the organization has also stopped giving them food, and the four have had to use their own money for food, which left them shortly after paying more than HK$400,000 (50 $958) to the organization.
Noting that the four did not look well, Li said he felt sad and shocked at the same time. He called on people who have had similar experiences to turn to the police as soon as possible.
Li said the online organization persuaded those who had fled the city to make videos showing their difficult lives to ask for donations. But they did not receive any money, he added.
Li warned that those who made donations could be charged with aiding and abetting a criminal offense, which could lead to 10 years in prison.
Police will track down those involved in the online organization and investigate where the money went, Li added.