'Police national security hotline will rip HK apart' - RTHK
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'Police national security hotline will rip HK apart'

2020-10-29 HKT 17:38
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  • James To says the hotline will 'disintegrate society and seriously undermine trust between families, students and teachers, and among friends'. Photo: RTHK
    James To says the hotline will 'disintegrate society and seriously undermine trust between families, students and teachers, and among friends'. Photo: RTHK
James To speaks to RTHK's Annemarie Evans
A hotline police are planning to set up to let people provide tip-offs over suspected national security law violations will tear Hong Kong apart, Democratic Party legislator James To warned on Thursday.

Sources say the force is yet to decide when to launch the hotline, while earlier reports said it could come as soon as next month.

On RTHK's Newswrap programme To said that such a hotline – which will be similar to one launched last year for people to contact police about illegal activities related to anti-government protests – is unnecessary and the end result will be "disastrous".

He said it will destroy trust among society, as it encourages people to report on each other.

"It will be a serious blow to freedom in Hong Kong and will undermine the trust between people... much of the reports will be related to individuals' political opinions," he said.

To added that the police's national security unit already has "tremendous" powers and it doesn't need a hotline that will "disintegrate society and seriously undermine trust between families, students and teachers, and among friends."

Calls made to the new hotline will not be picked up by officers and informants won't have to identify themselves.

People will be able to send videos, photos and information to the police through the mainland's Wechat or Korea's Line app.

But WhatsApp, one of the most popular platforms in Hong Kong, might not be used, after the force’s last attempt to use the app for a reporting hotline resulted in its accounts being suspended.

Political parties and legal heavyweights have criticised the security law, saying it infringes upon the city’s freedoms guaranteed under the Basic Law. But Beijing and Hong Kong officials deny this.

The authorities say the law is aimed only at a minority of people and is needed to bring back stability to the city which has been rocked by social unrest since last year.