Hong Kong police arrest man for booing anthem

Hong Kong police have arrested a man accused of booing the Chinese national anthem while watching an Olympic event at a mall.

The 40-year-old man was allegedly waving colonial-era Hong Kong flags and booing, while urging others to join him in insulting the national anthem, according to a police statement posted on Facebook.

Hong Kong passed a law in June last year that criminalized any actions that insult the national anthem. Violating the law can mean a fine of up to $6,400, and up to nine years in prison.

China’s central government criminalised actions that insult the national flag and emblem in amendments to the law last October, which is also applicable to Hong Kong.

The suspect was standing in a crowd with others on Friday to watch Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung in a match that would win him gold, local media reported.

The booing started at the medal ceremony, when the national anthem began playing.

Police said there may be additional arrests and that an active investigation is underway.

Hong Kong was rocked by months of sometimes violent anti-government protests in 2019, which led Beijing to crack down on dissent, including arresting leading pro-democracy activists in the city.

Hong Kong is a former British colony that was handed back to China in 1997.

The city was a bastion of free speech inside authoritarian China and democracy protests bubbled for years until they exploded in a huge popular street movement two years ago.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 3:28:20 AM |

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