Hong Kong police have raided the family home of Nathan Law, a leading pro-democracy activist in exile in the UK.
Local media reported that Mr Law’s parents and one of his brothers were also taken away for questioning.
The raid comes a week after authorities issued a HK$1m (£99,100; US$127,800) bounty for his arrest, as well as for that of seven other activists.
Mr Law, who fled to the UK in 2020 where he was granted political asylum, is yet to comment on the developments.
The raid happened on Tuesday morning and police have now confirmed to BBC News Chinese that three people were detained on “suspicion of assisting a person on the run to continue behaviour that threatens national security”.
Local media is reporting that the three individuals were subsequently released after questioning.
Police have also said more “law enforcement actions, including arrests” could be made.
Hong Kong authorities on 3 July issued arrest warrants and rewards for information leading to the capture of Mr Law and seven other Hong Kong political activists living in exile.
The eight activists targeted are accused of colluding with foreign forces – a crime that can carry a sentence of life in prison. The offence comes under Hong Kong’s draconian security law which was imposed three years ago after widespread pro-democracy protests took place in the former British territory in 2019.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee told a media briefing on Tuesday that investigations against activists would intensify as Hong Kong authorities seek to “pursue them for life”.
“We will exhaust all means to pursue them… We will also pursue the forces behind the scenes that support and perhaps even control them.
“As I have said, we should treat them as ‘rats on the streets’ and avoid them,” he said, repeating earlier comments.
Last week, Mr Lee urged the activists to give themselves up, adding that otherwise they would spend their days in fear.
The countries in which the activists live – the UK, the US and Australia – do not have extradition treaties with China, and have condemned the order from Hong Kong authorities.
However, at least five people with connections to the activists have been arrested in Hong Kong since the announcement. The police said they “do not rule out the possibility that more arrests will be made”.
Mr Law told the BBC last week he would have to be more careful following the order.
He is one of the most prominent figures in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, and was one of the unofficial leaders of the 2019 demonstrations.
After fleeing Hong Kong in 2020, he had issued a statement saying he had cut off all ties with his family.
He told the BBC last week he felt his situation was “relatively safe” in the UK, but he would have to be more vigilant as a result of the bounty’s announcement.
“There could possibly be someone in the UK – or anywhere else – to provide informations of me to (the Hong Kong authorities). For example, my whereabouts, where they could possibly extradite me when I’m transiting in certain countries,” Mr Law said.
“All these things may put my life in to dangerous situations if I’m not careful enough of who I meet or where I go. It makes me have to live in a more careful life.”
Source : BBC