July 15, 2022
HONG KONG – The National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police on Wednesday arrested four people who had been running from the law, hiding in an industrial building in Tsuen Wan and planning to flee the city.
Speaking at a news briefing on Thursday, Senior Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah said the four arrestees, aged 16 to 24, face charges of participating in an illegal assembly or rioting between June and October 2019. When they failed to show up in court, warrants were issued for their arrests.
After being turned away by the US consulate, the four arrestees were hidden by an organization in an industrial building in Tsuen Wan for about a year, police said
Li said an organization on social media was helping the four flee the city. The group claimed it would help them and had been asking them money since the beginning of 2020.
The organization persuaded the four to seek asylum from the US Consulate General in Hong Kong in October 2020, Li added.
After being turned away by the US consulate, the four arrestees were hidden by the organization in the industrial building in Tsuen Wan for about a year. Li said they and have been living under an “extremely harsh” environment, with no windows in their hiding place, until their arrest.
Since the beginning of this year, the organization also stopped giving them food, and the four had to use their own money to feed themselves, which left little after having paid 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 had similar experiences to turn to the police as soon as possible.
Li said the online organization had persuaded those who fled the city to make videos showing their hard lives to ask for donations. But they didn’t get any money, he added.
Li warned that those who made donations may face charges of aiding and abetting a criminal offense, which could lead to 10 years imprisonment.
The police will track down those involved in the online organization and investigate where the money went, Li added.