Enforcement officers turned up at the newly-reopened June Fourth Museum in Mong Kok on Tuesday, accusing the operators of running a place of public entertainment without the required licences.
The enforcement action came just days before the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen incident, with the museum, which offers information about the historical event on pro-democracy protesters in 1989, reopening only on Sunday.
Richard Tsoi of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) officers arrived at the museum at around 2pm and left after leaving their contacts, as those in charge were absent.
"FEHD officers had never paid this place a visit before, and we have held similar exhibitions for 10 years... We still have to look into this, but we can't rule out that political reasons are involved," he said.
In response to media inquiries, the FEHD said it has begun enforcement work after an investigation, and that it was responding to recent complaints.
The department said licences are required for entertainment venues that are opened to the public – including those that are admission-free – and that applies to exhibitions as well.
It said according to the law, no one can keep or use any place of public entertainment without a licence.
Offenders who are convicted face a fine of up to HK$25,000 and imprisonment for six months, and a further fine of HK$2,000 for every day during which the offence continues.
For now, the museum remains open.
The Hong Kong Alliance, which organises the museum along with other commemorating events, is firmly under the spotlight as Hong Kong is about to mark its first June 4 anniversary after the implementation of the national security law.
For the second year in a row, police refused to give permission for a candlelight vigil to be held at Victoria Park, citing pandemic concerns.
And pro-establishment figures have taken issue with calls for the end of one-party rule, a slogan often heard at previous vigils, arguing that may be in breach of the national security law.