China arrests Belizean, Taiwanese over alleged meddling in Hong Kong affairs

China arrests Belizean, Taiwanese over alleged meddling in Hong Kong affairs

Hong Kong protests Nov 30, 2019
People raise their hands as they sing the protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong during a protest in the Central district on Nov 30, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

HONG KONG/BEIJING: China has arrested a citizen of Belize for allegedly colluding with people in the United States to meddle in the affairs of Hong Kong, the official Guangdong Communist Party newspaper reported on Saturday (Nov 30), citing local authorities.

Lee Henley Hu Xiang, a Belizean businessman who lives in China, had funded key members of "hostile forces" in the United States to undermine China's national security, and supported activities that led to chaos in Hong Kong, the Southern Daily said.

It did not give details.

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Lee was arrested in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Nov 26 by the Guangzhou State Security bureau, the report said.

Authorities in Guangzhou could not be immediately reached for comment.

Separately, the newspaper confirmed that a Taiwanese man, Lee Meng-Chu, was also arrested by police in nearby Shenzhen city on Oct 31, for allegedly stealing state secrets for foreign forces after he made a trip to Hong Kong in August to support "anti-China" activities.

Lee, an adviser from a small township in Taiwan, had been missing since Aug 19 after traveling to Shenzhen.

He was being investigated for "engaging in criminal acts that endanger state security", a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council said in September.

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Hong Kong - a business and trade gateway for China as an international financial centre - has been mired in often violent anti-government protests for nearly six months.

The unrest has plunged the former British colony into its biggest political crisis in decades, at times forcing businesses, government, schools and even the international airport to close.

"The attempt by those anti-China, Hong Kong chaos-mongering people to pressure China through exploiting foreign anti-China forces will eventually be a clown act, like a mantis trying to stop a chariot," state news agency Xinhua said in a commentary published on Saturday.

"Hong Kong will not sink in this way. The heartless scumbags will inevitably be swept into the ash heap of history," it said.


Hong Kong protests November 30, 2019 Chater Garden
Demonstrators take part in a rally of school-aged youths and senior citizens at Chater garden in Hong Kong on Nov 30, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Nicolas Asfouri)

Secondary school students and retirees joined forces to protest in Hong Kong on Saturday, the first of several weekend rallies planned across the city, as pro-democracy activists vowed to battle what they say are police brutality and unlawful arrests.

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A top Hong Kong official said the government was looking into setting up an independent committee to review the handling of the crisis, in which demonstrations have become increasingly violent since they began more than five months ago.

Hong Kong has seen relative calm since local elections last week delivered an overwhelming victory to pro-democracy candidates. Still, activists appear keen to maintain the momentum of their movement.

"I came out for the peaceful protest in June when there was more than one million people, but the government did not listen to our demands," said a 71-year-old woman in Hong Kong's Central district who only gave her name as Ponn.

People raise their hands as they sing the protest anthem "Glory to Hong Kong" during an a
People raise their hands as they sing and listend to the protest anthem "Glory to Hong Kong" during an anti-government protest in the Central district of Hong Kong, China, Nov 30, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

She brought her own plastic stool to join a cross-generational protest of a few hundred people at the city's Chater Garden. Elderly Hong Kongers, some with visors and canes, stood not far from young, black-clad protesters. All listened to pro-democracy speakers in a gathering marked by music and a festive mood.

"I have seen so much police brutality and unlawful arrests. This is not the Hong Kong I know. I came today because I want the government to know that we are not happy with what they have done to our generation," said Ponn, who attended with her daughter and son-in-law.

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At one point the crowd rose to sing Glory to Hong Kong, which has become the unofficial anthem of protests. Many of them put their hands in the air with five fingers outstretched, a symbol of the pro-democracy movement.

"My mum asked me to come and protect her. So I came with my husband. It has been quiet after the district elections and that is unexpected," Ponn's 26-year-old daughter told Reuters.

"We should not stop there, I came today because we have to keep fighting."

In the Kowloon Bay area, a few hundred protesters formed a line and stood side by side, holding hands.

Police withdrew on Friday from the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University after it had been trashed by weeks of clashes between protesters and security forces.

Activists got a boost after winning backing from US President Donald Trump this week, something that has renewed global attention on the crisis in the Asian financial hub and infuriated Beijing.

"Today is an interesting ensemble because it is secondary students and elderly people. A lot of elderly people want to be heard by the police," said Lukas, a 16-year-old who was dressed in black.

"It is also a good chance for us to talk to some elderly people about how we need to stand together and fight against the Hong Kong police."

READ: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: Reuters/hm