The United States announced sanctions on Friday against six Hong Kong or central government officials it blamed for implementing a new security law in Hong Kong, following the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists this month.
Hong Kong police arrested 53 people on January 5 in dawn raids on democracy activists in the biggest crackdown since China last year imposed a security law which opponents say is aimed at quashing dissent in the SAR.
"This action by Hong Kong authorities is yet another stark example of Hong Kong's freedoms and democratic processes being fundamentally undermined," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Pompeo said those targeted with sanctions included Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong's sole delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and You Quan, vice chairman of Beijing's Central Leading Group on Hong Kong and Macau Affairs.
Sun Qingye, deputy director of the central government's national security office in Hong Kong, was also designated.
Three officers of the National Security Division of the Hong Kong police were named – Frederic Choi Chin-pang, Kelvin Kong Hok-lai, and Andrew Kan Kai-yan.
Pompeo said all were associated with "developing, adopting, or implementing the National Security Law."
The sanctions require the freezing of US-linked assets of those targeted. Beijing's Washington embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pompeo warned last week of fresh sanctions in response to the arrests. That warning came a day after supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed Congress in a bid to overturn his November election defeat, prompting state media to accuse US politicians of "double standards."
Pompeo also said last week that Washington would explore restrictions against the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in the United States, but Friday's announcement made no mention of this. (Reuters)
Last updated: 2021-01-16 HKT 09:04
US sanctions six officials over Hong Kong arrests
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