Police warned People Power vice-chairman Tam Tak-chi on Sunday that he may be violating the new security law for saying “Five demands, not one less” as he passed out face masks to people in Kowloon Bay.
Tam had been handing out packages of masks that he had repeatedly referred to as ‘five demands, not one less masks’ through an amplified microphone, when he and a number of colleagues were confronted by a group of officers.
A live video of the incident on Tam’s account showed that a passerby then chanted the popular protest slogan, and Tam responded by repeating the chant, prompting the police to unfurl their purple warning flag while issuing a verbal warning saying those present may be violating the security law.
The government had last month warned that the popular anti-government slogan ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’ “connotes ‘Hong Kong independence’, or separating the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from the People's Republic of China, altering the legal status of the HKSAR, or subverting the State power.”
However, it had not specified that the ‘five demands’ slogan – that anti-government protesters have been chanting at virtually every rally since last year – is also forbidden.
Legal experts have cast doubt on whether the government declaration has any legal effect at all, and questioned whether merely chanting a slogan is a violation of the new law.
Police also warned Tam that the masks he was handing out may also fall afoul of the law, objecting to some stickers stuck on the masks.
However, officers did not arrest him, and let him go after fining him and several others for allegedly violating the government’s ban on public gatherings of any more than two people.
Tam argued that their gathering was fully within the law because under the relevant regulation, group gatherings held for handling out supplies conducive to infection control are exempted from the restriction.
The People Power activist won a pro-democracy Legco primary last month, before the polls originally scheduled for next month were scrapped.
'Five demands' chant may violate law, police warn
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