‘Assassinate’ the justice minister, Hong Kong lawmakers urged in mystery letter
Culprits claim it is the responsibility of legislators to target secretary for justice and electoral officers after pro-democracy candidates barred from by-election
Hong Kong police launched an investigation on Wednesday after several lawmakers received letters urging them to “assassinate” the city’s justice minister and two electoral officials.
The letters were a response to the disqualification of pro-democracy candidates from a by-election for the city’s legislature earlier this month.
Similarly intimidating letters were also sent to returning officers responsible for approving applications to stand for election. Their offices filed a report to police.
A spokesman for the police force said the case was being treated as “criminal intimidation”. No arrests had been made by Wednesday night.
In the run-up to the Legislative Council by-election on March 11, Anne Teng Yu-yan, the returning officer for the Hong Kong Island constituency, ruled that Agnes Chow Ting of political party Demosisto was ineligible to participate as the activist had advocated the city’s “self-determination”. Chow’s position was seen as inconsistent with Hong Kong’s mini-constitution and the city’s status as part of China.
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In the New Territories East constituency, officer Amy Chan Yuen-man barred localists James Chan Kwok-keung and Ventus Lau Wing-hong over earlier remarks about the idea of Hong Kong independence.
At least 18 pro-establishment lawmakers, as well as opposition pan-democratic legislators Au Nok-hin and Gary Fan Kwok-wai, received letters on Wednesday urging them to assassinate the minister and electoral officers.
The letters came with a poster, in Japanese, claiming there would be a reward of $500 in an unspecified currency for killing the two officers and $1,500 for the life of Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah.
The letters, mainly written in Chinese, claimed it was the lawmakers’ “responsibility to assassinate the officials” as the latter had contravened the Chinese constitution and Hong Kong’s Basic Law by disqualifying the candidates.
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Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Michael Luk Chung-hung said the letters were “a serious threat to the safety of public officers”.
“It is a challenge to Hong Kong’s rule of law, and its electoral and constitutional systems ... I strongly reprimand such acts,” he said.
Luk believed the letters had been sent by someone who advocated the idea of Hong Kong breaking away from Chinese rule. The Japanese was “filled with basic grammatical mistakes”, he said.