Hong Kong police on Monday said they are offering a reward of HK$1 million ($128,000) for each of eight fugitives wanted for endangering national security.
Earlier, a Hong Kong court had approved the issue of arrest warrants for the eight people — three exiled former lawmakers, including Ted Hui Chi-fung, and five people who allegedly advocated separatism and sought foreign sanctions on Hong Kong.
The police said that anyone who provides information that would lead to these people's arrests will be given the reward.
The police officers will freeze the suspects' bank accounts and other assets to cut off funding for their illegal activities, Chief Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah of the Police's National Security Department said at a media briefing on Monday afternoon.
Ted Hui Chi-fung, a former lawmaker who jumped bail and fled Hong Kong at the end of 2020, is charged with three offenses: inciting secession, inciting subversion of State power and collusion with external forces to endanger national security — three out of the four crimes proscribed by the National Security Law. Hui is charged with having committed the most crimes among the eight wanted.
Li said Hui advocated "Hong Kong independence" and called on the people to overthrow the government of the Hong Kong SAR and the central government through multiple media platforms.
Hui also asked overseas governments and politicians to impose sanctions on the Hong Kong SAR and the nation, Li added.
Also on the wanted list is Kwok Wing-hang, a barrister and former legislator, who Hong Kong police say was proposing to foreign politicians to take extreme measures to sabotage Hong Kong's Linked Exchange Rate System to undermine Hong Kong's status as an international financial center.
Nathan Law Kwun-chung, also a former lawmaker, is charged with advocating separatism and collusion with external forces.
The remaining five people — Kelvin Yam, Yuan Gongyi, Kwok Fung-yee, Mung Siu-tat and Lau Cho-dik — are alleged to have conducted various activities to endanger national security, including calling for external sanctions on Hong Kong's judges and prosecutors. They are currently based in countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
According to Articles 37 and 38 of the National Security Law, the law applies to people outside Hong Kong, including those who are not permanent residents of Hong Kong, if they commit an offense.
Li warned that people who donate money to them through online platforms may also be in breach of the National Security Law.
In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, expressed its firm support for the police's move, saying that it ensures the National Security Law is fully and accurately implemented and safeguards the constitutional order of the SAR.
The HKSAR government said in a statement that it fully supports the police's move to put the eight fugitives on its wanted list.
A government spokesman said it is the common responsibility of all the people of China, including the people of the Hong Kong SAR, to safeguard the sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity of the country.
Since the implementation of the National Security Law on June 30, 2020, the National Security Department of the Police Force has arrested 260 people. Among them, 161 individuals and five companies have been charged under the law, according to police.