The Hong Kong government said on Friday that it opposes any country harbouring criminals, blasting those that do for their "barbaric interference" and warning they will pay a price for their actions.
No countries or "criminals" were named in the government's statement, but the comments echoed those made by a Beijing official on Thursday after former Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law announced he had been granted political asylum in the UK.
The SAR government said any society that upholds the rule of law "should not accept anyone being above the law or having the privilege to break the law without facing legal consequences".
It said a number of criminals had absconded since taking part in a "series of riots and illegal acts advocating Hong Kong independence" – a reference to the pro-democracy protests of 2019.
"These criminals made up numerous excuses, including lying to the court for approval to leave Hong Kong and alleging that they were prosecuted for political reasons to deliberately escape justice. These are shameful and cowardly acts," the government claimed.
It added that the Department of Justice controls criminal prosecutions, free from any interference, and everyone receives a fair and just trial.
"Any country, region, organisation or individual that harbours Hong Kong criminals in any form shows contempt for the rule of law, grossly disrespects Hong Kong's legal systems and barbarically interferes in the affairs of Hong Kong," the statement said.
The government added that countries were turning a blind eye to "offences committed by the criminals" and disregarding the "potential security threats", warning they would "eventually bear the consequences of what they have done".
Countries will pay for harbouring 'criminals': govt
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