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Police in Hong Kong detain 11 for helping pro-democracy activists escape

Beijing: Police in Hong Kong on Thursday arrested 11 people under the territory’s national security law for allegedly helping 12 pro-democracy activists who had made an attempt to escape from the city by using a speedboat but were caught and were last month tried and jailed in mainland China.

Sources said those arrested include eight men and three women – the youngest aged 18 and the oldest 72 – and were detained in a series of raids that began at dawn, Al Jazeera reported.

Among those arrested include District Councillor Daniel Wong, who is also a lawyer, who has long provided legal assistance to pro-democracy activists including people who took part in the 2019 protests.

However, the police did not make any confirmation about the raids and arrests.

The group that tried to leave the territory by boat were picked up by the Chinese coastguard in August and held in jail and were neither allowed to meet family or their lawyers, until their trial in Shenzhen on December 28. Two days later 10 of the activists were jailed for between seven months and three years, while the two who were under-18 were transferred back to Hong Kong police custody.

Thursday’s arrests are part of a continuing crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement that has included elected politicians, as well as activists and lawyers, including Jimmy Lai a prominent media tycoon who are facing charges under the national security legislation.

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