News analysis

Arrests leave HK shocked, divided

Pro-Beijing camp welcomes move but others see it as purge of opposition

American lawyer John Clancey, who served as treasurer for a group that helped to organise the unofficial primary election in Hong Kong last year, was among the 53 activists arrested yesterday. PHOTO: NYTIMES Pro-democracy activist Lester Shum (centre
American lawyer John Clancey, who served as treasurer for a group that helped to organise the unofficial primary election in Hong Kong last year, was among the 53 activists arrested yesterday. PHOTO: NYTIMES
American lawyer John Clancey, who served as treasurer for a group that helped to organise the unofficial primary election in Hong Kong last year, was among the 53 activists arrested yesterday. PHOTO: NYTIMES Pro-democracy activist Lester Shum (centre
Pro-democracy activist Lester Shum (centre) being taken away by the police yesterday. Beijing threw its weight behind the blitz as the operation, which involved 1,000 officers, drew flak from the US and Taiwan. PHOTO: REUTERS
American lawyer John Clancey, who served as treasurer for a group that helped to organise the unofficial primary election in Hong Kong last year, was among the 53 activists arrested yesterday. PHOTO: NYTIMES Pro-democracy activist Lester Shum (centre
Pro-democracy political group member Ben Chung (centre) in police custody yesterday. Beijing has defended the arrests as a necessary measure to stop "external forces and individuals" from colluding to undermine China. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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Hong Kongers were shocked and divided after the police rounded up more than 50 politicians and activists yesterday in a fresh wave of arrests.

Secretary for Security John Lee said "active elements who are suspected to have been involved in the crime of overthrowing or interfering or seriously destroying the Hong Kong government's legal execution of duties" were targeted.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2021, with the headline Arrests leave HK shocked, divided. Subscribe