National security police raid Hong Kong law firm for first time, arrest US attorney

Published (HKT): 2021.01.06 13:38

The Hong Kong police force conducted an unprecedented search of a law firm on Wednesday morning and arrested an American human rights lawyer, in a widening operation linked to national security.

Law enforcers detained United States citizen John Clancey and combed Ho, Tse, Wai and Partners, the law firm in Central where he worked.

A team of about 30 police officers condoned off the floor where the firm was located and barred reporters from hanging around the premises. Journalists on site were forced to wait downstairs.

It was understood that Clancey was also the treasurer for Power of Democracy, a political group founded in 2002. The group served as a mediation platform to coordinate unofficial primary polls held among pro-democracy parties last summer to select candidates for a legislative election.

Power of Democracy convenor Andrew Chiu and vice convenor Ben Chung were part of the 50 or so arrestees targeted on the same morning.

The action on the law firm is the first of its kind by Hong Kong police after the passage of national security legislation on June 30 last year.

On Wednesday morning, police took into custody dozens of people, including former lawmakers, politicians and activists from the pro-democracy bloc, for alleged subversion under the national security law in relation to the primary polls.

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