Police said on Thursday that the chairwoman of Central and Western District Council, the Democratic Party's Cheng Lai-king, had been arrested under sedition laws, for allegedly doxxing a police officer.
Superintendent Swalikh Mohammed said Cheng, who has since been released on bail, is believed to have illegally shared personal information, including the officer's name, picture, staff number, address and phone number, via her social media account.
Mohammed said the 60-year-old is suspected of inciting violence and hatred and could also have violated a High Court injunction banning doxxing of police officers, as well as the Privacy Ordinance.
The superintendent said the force is not targeting anyone with the arrest, and it shows that no one is above the law, regardless of their background or occupation.
"If you look online, there are a lot of words which are in fact, causing a lot of incitement," he said.
"What we have noticed in the past eight, nine months is that somebody incites some violence and you see it happening on the streets immediately. That's what concerns us and that's why we have to take appropriate enforcement action against people who breach the law."
Cheng's case has been linked to a widely-shared Facebook post purportedly containing information about the police officer responsible for firing a projectile into the face of an Indonesian journalist during protests last October.
The journalist, who was left blind in one eye, is planning a private prosecution against the officer responsible. But police have refused to name him.
As well as inciting violence, the charge of "seditious intention" also covers attempts to cause people to have "hatred or contempt" against the SAR government, "disaffection" against the administration of justice, or "ill-will and enmity" between different sectors of society.
Those convicted of the charge can be jailed for two years for a first offence.
Several Central and Western district councillors held a protest outside Kwai Chung Police Station over Cheng's arrest which was made late on Wednesday night, demanding the chairwoman's immediate release.
Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui said the sedition law is outdated and is just a tool for the police to abuse their power.
Shortly after 2pm, Cheng left the police station, thanking the media for covering her arrest but adding no further comment, except that her lawyers are handling the matter.
In January, she had presided over a council meeting attended by Police Commissioner Chris Tang, who was grilled about allegations of police brutality. Tang walked out when Cheng began reading a motion to condemn the force.
Last updated: 2020-03-26 HKT 14:12
Council chairwoman arrested for 'seditious intent'
2020-03-26 HKT 13:29
Timmy Sung reports
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