Nathan Law: UK-based Hong Kong activist worries about his safety due to a bounty

Picture of Nathan Law taken in November 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan

A pro-democracy activist who fled Hong Kong told the BBC that the reward offered for his capture has made his life more dangerous.

The police in the territory are looking for eight exiled activists, including Nathan Law, who resides in the UK.

Authorities are offering HK$1 million ($127,637) (£100,581; $127,637) in rewards for information that results in their capture.

Due to the bounty, Mr. Law claimed he needed to be "more cautious" when disclosing his whereabouts.

The eight targeted activists are charged with conspiring with foreign forces, a crime that carries a life sentence in prison. The offense is covered by Hong Kong's strict security law, which was put in place three years ago following significant pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019.

James Cleverly, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, declared that his country would "not tolerate any attempts by China to intimidate and silence individuals in the UK and abroad.". ".

He issued a statement saying, "We call on Beijing to repeal the National Security Law and for the Hong Kong government to stop persecuting people who defend freedom and democracy.

In Hong Kong, hundreds of pro-democracy activists have been detained and found guilty under the national security law.  .

Beijing claims that the law is necessary to stabilize the city, but detractors claim it is intended to quell dissent.

The eight people mentioned in this announcement are all residents of the UK, US, and Australia, nations without extradition agreements with China.

Steven Li, chief superintendent of the national security department, stated that "they have committed very serious offenses that endanger national security.".  .

He also said that even though Hong Kong police could not arrest them while they were outside of the country, they would continue to pursue them.

One of the most well-known pro-democracy activists, Mr. Law, said that although he felt "relatively safe" in the UK, the bounty announcement would require him to be more watchful.

"There might be someone in the UK, or anywhere else, who could give (the Hong Kong authorities) information about me. For instance, my location, where they might be able to extradite me if I transit certain nations, Mr. Law said.

"All these things could put my life in danger if I'm not watchful about who I interact with or where I go. It forces me to lead a more cautious life. ".

Mr. Law urged people not to assist the authorities in this matter in a tweet, writing that "we should not limit ourselves, self-censor, be intimidated, or live in fear. ".

One of the other exiled activists, Anna Kwok, executive director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council, echoed this sentiment, claiming that the bounty was intended to intimidate her and her fellow activists.

She declared in a statement, "We are united in our fight for freedom and democracy in our home, Hong Kong.

The announcement, according to Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong, left her country "deeply disappointed," and Australia "remains deeply concerned by the continuing erosion of Hong Kong's rights, freedoms, and autonomy. ".

The announcement also lists Ted Hui, Dennis Kwok, Mung Siu-tat, Elmer Yuen, Finn Law, and Kevin Yam as the additional six activists.

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