A Hong Kong police spokesperson declined to comment on active investigations but said “there is no retroactive effect” on the work they carry out under the national security law.
So far only one person has been charged under the legislation — a man who allegedly drove a motorbike into police officers while flying a pro-independence flag. He is facing one count of terrorism and one charge of inciting secession.
The lawyer involved in national security cases said he believed police often had no intention of charging those arrested.
“Intimidation, forfeiting their travel documents, and using those released on bail to pick up more people are the three purposes,” he said.
District councillor Chow Wai-hung was the 11th person arrested under the law after he raised placards at a protest in late July, including one that read “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” — a popular but now banned slogan.
“No officer answered when I asked why I was accused of inciting secession,” he told AFP after he was released on bail.
“Except one who shouted that I should prepare for three years in jail.”
PICTURES BY ISAAC LAWRENCE AND ANTHONY WALLACE/afp