Security Secretary John Lee said it is apparent that Hongkongers are becoming increasingly supportive of the national security law that Beijing imposed on the city almost a year ago, saying many people have now taken a proactive role in safeguarding national security.
In an interview with the official Xinhua news agency that was published on Wednesday, Lee said a police hotline that allows people to report on suspected violations had already received more than 100,000 "valuable" messages since its launch last November.
The minister said calls for Hong Kong independence and anti-government protests had fallen significantly thanks to the law, which critics say undermines people’s basic rights and freedoms.
"Illegal activities like violent protests and [calls for] independence as well as external forces blatantly messing up Hong Kong have been significantly reduced ... The national security law has stopped the chaos and give us confidence to live and work in Hong Kong," he said.
Lee again rejected allegations that the police had abused the law by making arbitrary arrests – calling these remarks “a distortion of facts” and “an attempt to mislead the public”.
"To arrest one person or not is only based on whether his or her act is illegal or not. We do not take into account his or her background or job. Our law enforcement is carried out in strict accordance with the law," he argued.
Officers have arrested 109 people on suspicion of endangering national security and 62 of them have been charged, according to Xinhua.
Looking ahead, the security chief said external forces are still "casting their covetous eyes" on Hong Kong, warning that they may continue to organise activities that endanger national security and advocate independence for Hong Kong.
'People increasingly supportive of security law'
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