According to South China Morning Post, all former Democratic opposition lawmakers - who resigned in protest in November - were arrested along with high-profile political organizers who took part in last July’s primary runoff effort to elect anti-Beijing candidates to the Legislative Council.
US national John Clancey was among those detained during a raid of the Ho Tse Wai & Partners law firm, which has many anti-government figures as its clients, the newspaper reported.
Furthermore, three media outlets associated with the opposition, Apple Daily, Stand News and In-Media were presented with court orders to present documents in connection with national security cases within a week.
All the arrests were carried out under the national security law imposed by Beijing last year.
Opposition activists devised the 35-plus strategy during last year’s primaries which saw voters elect candidates to challenge for many of the Legislative Council seats that will be up for grabs during the upcoming September 2021 election.
One primary hopeful, Ng Kin-Wai, live-streamed police officers entering his house and presenting grounds for his arrest. According to the South China Morning Post, the police said opposition candidates intended to engage in obstructionism and veto bills and budgets if elected to the legislature, claiming this amounted to subversion under the national security law.
Hong Kong has been a battleground between proponents of autonomy from Beijing and facilitators of Chinese influence in the special administrative region. Mass anti-Beijing protests erupted in June 2019 which plunged the prosperous city into chaos and saw activists take to increasingly violent methods of opposition.