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UK Updates Hong Kong Travel Advice, Adds Foreign Nationals Being Wanted by National Security Law

On July 10, the British government updated its travel advice for citizens traveling to Hong Kong after considering the implications of Hong Kong’s National Security Law (NSL,) which took effect on June 30, 2020.  The law includes offences of secession, subversion, organization and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country, all of which can be interpreted broadly and carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Both individuals and organizations can face prosecution.

The advice states that travelers should be aware that issuing or supporting political statements critical of the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, including online and on social media, could be viewed as a crime under the NSL and may lead to prosecution in Hong Kong. And, that those who support individuals who themselves are deemed to be conducting activities in contravention of the National Security Law could also face prosecution under the same law. There is also the possibility of being detained and removed to mainland China for some offences.

The “Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020” which was implemented in August 2021 contains powers that could prevent people from leaving the Hong Kong. Although the Hong Kong government has given undertakings that this bill will only be used to prevent certain asylum seekers from entering Hong Kong, it remains in the latest version of travel advice.

Hong Kong, like other parts of China, does not recognize dual nationality. Travelers entering Hong Kong with a British and Chinese passport are warned that they may be treated as a Chinese citizen by local authorities, even if entering on a British passport. If this circumstance arises, the British Consulate-General may not be able to offer consular assistance.

The NSL applies to activities conducted both inside and outside Hong Kong, which includes activities conducted in the UK. It also applies to all individuals irrespective of nationality or residency. On July 3, Hong Kong’s National Security Police issued arrest warrants and a financial reward of HK$8 million (US$1 million) against eight individuals living outside Hong Kong, including in the UK. They are Kevin Yam Kin-fung, Elmer Yuen Gong-yi, Anna Kwok Fung-yee, Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, Ted Hui Chi-fung, Mung Siu-tat, Finn Lau Cho-dik, and Nathan Law Kwun-chung. Soon after the bounties were announced, National Security police arrested four suspects on suspicion of violating the NSL. They are former leader of the disbanded pro-democracy group Demosisto, Ivan Lam Long-yin, and three former members, William Liu Wai-lim, Arnold Chung Chin-ku and Li Kai-ching.

According to a report, the four were accused of supporting Mr. Law’s online shopping platform “Mee-Punish Club.” National security police now believe that the so-called “yellow camp” shopping reward platform has been permanently removed.

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