Hong Kong to establish new police unit to enforce new security laws

Hong Kong’s security chief has announced that a dedicated police unit is being set up and would be ready to enforce controversial new national security laws from day one. There is widespread international and commercial concern about the impact of the laws that are being imposed on the semi-autonomous region directly by Beijing, bypassing Hong Kong’s legislature. The move has prompted the UK to offer a visa to millions of HongKongers if they felt uncomfortable staying. State media said that legislators were working “day and night” to draft the legislation.

Kennedy Wong Ying-ho – the deputy secretary general of the Hong Kong Coalition, an influential pro-Beijing group led by former chief executives of the region – told the state-run Global Times the laws would likely take effect within a month. Attendees at a forum organised by the coalition heard the powerful standing committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) would “spare no effort” in drafting the laws quickly.

The standing committee of the NPC drafts the new security laws and bills are meant to go through three readings before approval but can be adopted sooner. Hong Kong’s security chief, John Lee Ka-chiu, said police were establishing a separate dedicated unit to enforce the proposed national security laws, led by police commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung.

“The new body will have intelligence-gathering capability, we’ll have investigation capability, we’ll have an action arm,” Lee told the South China Morning Post. “We should also have a strategy for the long-term development of this dedicated unit.” Lee would not say how it would work with mainland agencies, but suggested there would be heavy involvement.

“I’m sure that the mainland authorities have a much wider network of intelligence gathering and also a much higher level of analysis,” Lee said. “They have a helicopter view of the whole thing. So they will let us know the whole picture when we, as a city, may not be able to, just using our information.”