Police said on Tuesday that three people – believed to be former members of the pro-independence group Studentlocalism – had been arrested on suspicion of breaching the national security law in connection with social media posts made since September.
The force said its national security unit had arrested the three, aged between 17 and 21, in Central, Sha Tin and Tuen Mun, on suspicion of inciting others to split the country.
Earlier in the day Studentlocalism said former leader Tony Chung and ex-members Yanni Ho and William Chan had been arrested. Chung was said to have been nabbed near the US Consulate in Central, and Ho and Chan as they reported to police stations.
A group calling itself "Friends of Hong Kong" sent a statement to media saying it had been trying to arrange for Chung to make an asylum application at the US consulate.
Studentlocalism wrote on social media that Chung, Ho and Chan were receiving legal assistance.
The trio and another former member of the group had already been arrested under the national security law on July 29, also on suspicion of inciting secession. Police said there had been posts online calling for the establishment of a "Hong Kong nation". But the four were not charged with any offence and were released on bail.
Police on Tuesday said they were now looking into whether the suspects had breached Article 21 of the national security law which was imposed on the SAR by Beijing at the end of June.
Article 21 makes it an offence for anyone to incite or support people to carry out acts aimed at separating the SAR or other parts of China from the rest of the country, altering the city's legal status by unlawful means, or surrendering part of China to a foreign country.
The maximum punishment for such crimes is 10 years in prison.
Security law arrests over social media posts: police
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