The Secretary for Security, John Lee, said on Monday that he had decided to ban the Hong Kong National Party after concluding that the pro-independence outfit posed a severe threat to public safety and national security.
Speaking to reporters during a media briefing, the security chief said the party’s demands for an independent Hong Kong and a “Hong Kong Republic” without mainlanders also promoted hatred and breached the Basic Law.
He said the decision, which was gazetted on Monday morning and took immediate effect, was made after “careful and comprehensive” consideration.
Lee said that even though the party had on some occasions argued that it did not support the use of violence to achieve its cause, he was not convinced.
“I cannot ignore the fact that the Hong Kong National Party has repeatedly advocated that it will use all methods, including the use of force, and also encouraging its supporters to use force”, he said.
The minister added that while the SAR treasures freedom of expression, this is not without limits.
When asked if he was pressured by Beijing officials into banning the party, Lee stressed that it was solely his call.
“I made the decision myself, any other things are not taken into consideration”, he said.
The banned party, which was led by Chan Ho-tin, has the option of appealing against the ban to the Executive Council within 30 days. Chan was yet to comment on the government's move.