China is seeking the return of three UK-based human rights activists and is offering £100,000 for help leading to their arrest.
Beijing has approached Interpol to demand injunctions for the trio who spoke out against repressive reforms in the former British colony of Hong Kong.
Nathan Law, Finn Lau and Mung Siu-Tat are among eight people Beijing wants to jail for endangering national security.
While the UK does not extradite to China, the move could make the trio prisoners in this country as their ability to travel freely could be compromised.
Two European Union states, Portugal and the Czech Republic, have not yet suspended their extradition treaties with Beijing.
China is seeking the return of three UK-based human rights activists (Nathan Law pictured) and is offering £100,000 for assistance leading to their arrests.
Left: Finn Lau, exiled Hong Kong activist and founder of Hong Kong Liberty, speaks during the rally at Parliament Square in June last year. Right: Members of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), including Mung Siu-tat (foreground), attend a protest
In recent years, China has bombarded the crime agency with demands for “red notices,” meaning people could be arrested around the world.
Interpol is not supposed to be used for political purposes. However, its relations with China and repressive Gulf states have been heavily criticized.
Rewards of £100,000 have been offered to anyone who provides information about the whereabouts of any of the activists leading to their arrest and subsequent prosecution by Hong Kong authorities.
Mr Lau faces a charge of “foreign collusion”, Mr Law is accused of dissent for meeting foreign politicians and exposing Hong Kong’s disregard for human rights.
Finn Lau told the Mail that Chinese authorities have pursued him for three years. He described the bounty on his head as “a badge of honor.”
He wants to visit Portugal and the Czech Republic to protest against their judicial relations with China.
He said: ‘The £100,000 reward reflects the frustration of the Hong Kong government. They are resorting to all means. But I will continue to advocate for democracy, human rights and pragmatic policies.
‘Hong Kong’s democracy movement will not be stopped by the risk of kidnappings, physical attacks and other illegal forms. I am willing to risk my life to testify before the Portuguese and Czech parliaments. Glory and freedom to Hong Kong.
While Nathan Law wrote on Twitter: ‘We must not limit ourselves, self-censor, be intimidated or live in fear.’
The eight people fled Hong Kong after Beijing imposed legislation banning dissent and free speech in 2020.
This month marks twenty-six years since Britain returned Hong Kong to China. Since then he has been accused of breaking promises made in 1997 to defend freedoms and customs.
Hong Kong Police Chief Superintendent (National Security) Li Kwai-wah speaks during a press conference to issue arrest warrants for eight activists, in Hong Kong on July 3.
National security laws introduced in the former British colony in 2020 have led to 260 arrests of pro-democracy politicians, activists, union leaders and journalists.
Since 2016, China has involved Interpol in more than 3,000 investigations. At least 60 people subject to Chinese red notices have been returned to Beijing.
In 2017, Interpol issued a red alert against Uighur activist Idris Hasan. He has been held captive in Morocco since then and still faces the possibility of being extradited to China.
These cases have led to the agency being labeled a “tool for dictators.”
But Steven Li, chief superintendent of Hong Kong’s national security department, defended the arrest warrants, saying: “They have committed very serious crimes.”
‘They have advocated sanctions to harm Hong Kong’s interests and intimidate Hong Kong officials. “They are abroad, but we will not stop pursuing them.”
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: ‘We will not tolerate any attempt by China to intimidate and silence people in the UK and abroad. The UK will always defend the universal right to freedom of expression and defend those who are targeted.
‘We firmly oppose the National Security Law that China imposed on Hong Kong, including its extraterritorial reach, in violation of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration.
“We call on Beijing to scrap the National Security Law and for Hong Kong authorities to stop attacking those who defend freedom and democracy.”
The Mail has approached Interpol for comment.