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US sanctions six Hong Kong officials over their alleged role in security law arrests

US sanctions six Hong Kong officials over their alleged role in security law arrests
The US is blacklisting six Hong Kong officials, including police chiefs, who it blames for a Beijing-led crackdown on demonstrators under the national security law, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

Police in Hong Kong arrested 53 people on January 5 in the largest action against protesters since June, after the introduction of the region’s contentious security law. 

Pompeo said those arrested as part of the crackdown included 13 former Legislative Council members, a US lawyer and a former law professor, who were later released on bail.

Those sanctioned by the US include the director of the National Security Division of the Hong Kong Police, Frederic Choi Chin-Pang, as well as assistant commissioners, Kelvin Kong Hok Lai, and Andrew Kan Kai Yan. 

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The sanctions also target You Quan, vice chairman of the Central Leading Group on Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, Sun Wenqing; deputy director of the Office for Safeguarding National Security and Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

Pompeo said the sanctions, which will freeze any US assets of those affected, target officials who have “engaged in, coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning individuals under the authority of, or in developing, adopting, or implementing, the National Security Law.”

The move follows previous sanctions by the US on Chinese officials in response to events around protests in Hong Kong, including travel bans on 14 officials in December over their alleged role in the removal of opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong.

Beijing has hit back at US criticism of the protest crackdown as “foreign meddling” in China’s affairs.

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