Some pro-democracy protesters have also doxxed Hong Kong’s police, which last week obtained a court injunction giving them further protections against personal details being leaked.
Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has logged around 2,000 cases of doxxing — roughly half affecting police — since protests began in June, according to a spokesman for his office.
However the doxxing of police has been in a less co-ordinated fashion and without any specific or sophisticated website.
Meanwhile, HK Leaks has been promoted by groups linked to China’s Communist Party.
These include the Chinese Communist Youth League, which has promoted the doxxing site on their official Weibo accounts.
“Netizens have produced a website called HK Leaks… These hideous people have been categorized according to surname. Let’s remove their masks, take action!” a September 18 post on one of the league’s account says.
The state-run broadcaster, CCTV, posted the same message on its official Weibo account, where it received more than 75,000 likes.
The nationalist Global Times newspaper, a Communist Party mouthpiece, posted a similar message on its Weibo account, and added a hashtag #listofunmaskedHongKongmob which has been viewed more than 230 million times.
HK Leaks has also been promoted by a network of Twitter bot accounts identified by AFP — some created shortly before the website was set up in August 2019, others old, idle accounts that were revived around the same time.
Many of the tweets used emoji in their hashtags or were strategically edited to avoid being flagged — behaviors also seen on accounts removed by Twitter this summer for involvement in a coordinated state-backed disinformation campaign.
Some doxxing victims have accused mainland Chinese authorities of involvement.
One pro-democracy protester told AFP he gave a “fake address I’ve never given to anyone” to Chinese police during a five-hour grilling at the border when returning to Hong Kong after a business trip in mainland China in August.
“The same fake address shows up on HK Leaks,” he said.
by Rachel BLUNDY / Esther Chan