Hong Kong police arrest five for sex on 25th anniversary of handover

Hong Kong police arrest five for sex on 25th anniversary of handover

Hong Kong police arrested five people for sex as the city prepares for the 25th anniversary of the British handover and a potential visit from China's leader Xi Jinping.

Two men, aged 28 and 30, were arrested on Wednesday with an act or act with seditious intention, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

They were suspected of posting messages on social media that promote feelings of ill will and enmity between different classes of the population of Hong Kong, and incite the use of violence police said in a statement.

Three new arrests were made on Wednesday in relation to a previous case involving a martial arts coach accused of running an armed separatist movement.

Three men aged between 39 and 50 were arrested for sedition and seized a large number of offensive weapons, including machetes, knives and swords, from their residences.

In March, authorities charged two people after they set up a martial arts training hall to organise an armed force for Hong Kong independence. The city is on high alert as it prepares for the pivotal date of 1 July when a new government is sworn in and the former colony marks 25 years since its handover.

A potential visit by Xi next week has been complicated by the country's zero tolerance policy for coronaviruses, which has resulted in a potential visit by Chinese leaders to Hong Kong on key anniversaries.

Over the past two years the offence of sedition, created by British colonial rulers, has been long criticised as an anti-free speech law and has been used against journalists, unionists, activists, a former pop star and people critical of the government's response to the Covid epidemic.

In the wake of the massive democracy protests, Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in 2020, which was wielded by officials to crack down on dissent. More than 190 people in Hong Kong have been arrested for national security crimes, but authorities have dismissed criticisms about the shrinking of civil liberties.