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Hong Kong police release US lawyer arrested with democracy figures

One of the 53 people arrested in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the American lawyer John Clancey, has been released without charge pending further inquiries.

Police were expected to begin releasing the remaining detainees on Thursday, according to local media, after an unprecedented round-up of politicians, campaigners, and activists over accusations that their holding of a democratic poll violated the national security law (NSL) imposed by China’s government.

The individuals, who include former lawmakers, academics, social workers, and students, are being released on police bail pending charges, and will likely have to report back at regular intervals. The arrest of Clancey, a prominent Hong Kong lawyer and US citizen, marked the first use of the national security law (NSL) against a foreigner.

Clancey, who is the chairman of the Asian Human Rights Commission and treasurer of a group linked to the democratic primaries at the centre of the allegations, was arrested when police raided the law firm Ho, Tse, Wai and Partners on Wednesday, a source at his law firm told Reuters.

Local media also reported on Thursday that activists Joshua Wong, who is already serving a 13-month prison sentence, and Tam Tak Chi, who is in jail on remand, were also re-arrested over related allegations.

Around 1,000 police officers were mobilised to raid 72 premises and arrest 53 people, including 45 men and eight women, aged between 23 and 79 “for subversion of state power”, in what was the largest mass arrest since the introduction of the national security law in June. It more than doubled the number of people apprehended for alleged violations, and police did not rule out further arrests.

The 53 were arrested over their involvement – including as candidates – in unofficial primaries held last year. Read from source….