Authorities arrested four students in Hong Kong on Wednesday, July 29, in the first police operation to enforce the new national security law. Reportedly, the students were arrested for "inciting secession" on social media after the law was implemented on July 1. A spokesperson from the new national security unit inside Hong Kong police stated that computers, phones, and documents were seized in the operation.
Further police operations are possible over the near term. There is a potential for unrest across Hong Kong in the near term following the arrests. These protests may result in confrontations with security forces. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of all protests.
Under the new legislation, individuals can be arrested for being directly or indirectly involved in secession, subversion, terrorist activities, or collusion with a foreign country or other external elements that could endanger national security. The maximum sentence for violating the law is life imprisonment. A new Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government will also be set up in Hong Kong to assist in dealing with national security issues. Under certain conditions, the new Office will be allowed to prosecute individuals under mainland Chinese law.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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