Police in Hong Kong detained a man on Wednesday for celebrating Liverpool Football Club’s first Premier Title in 30 years on the grounds that he was inciting independence from China, local media reported.
The arrest took place as thousands of Hongkongers took to the streets on Wednesday to demonstrate against China’s new “national security” law that will effectively criminalize any activities seen as undermining Beijing’s authority or interests.
According to local media, police were examining a group of protesters outside the Causeway Bay MTR station when a man across the street suddenly shouted: “Long live Liverpool!” which is a reference to Liverpool Football Club last week winning England’s Barclays Premier League. On hearing his celebration, others around him cheered and echoed the chant.
The incident caught the attention of the police, who ran towards the man wearing a Liverpool shirt and demanded to know who else was chanting. He was then dragged over to an area where they carried out checks and a full body search for ten minutes before releasing him.
— Hong Kong – Be Water (@BeWaterHKG) July 1, 2020
The man told In-media that police accused him of promoting Hong Kong independence, which is now illegal under the new national security law that bans any the incitement of secessionist sentiment. According to the man, he merely “felt the urge” to voice his feelings having supported Liverpool for 30 years. The last time Liverpool won a league title was in 1990, exactly 30 years ago.
Hong Kong experienced its latest wave of protests on Wednesday in opposition to the new law as well as to mark the 23rd anniversary of the handover of the region from the British Empire. Under the agreement, the two sides agreed to a system known as “One Country, Two Systems,” which meant Hong Kong was autonomous despite being part of China. However, this agreement continues to be systematically undermined by Beijing, who are constantly imposing new measures such as the “national security” law designed to tighten their grip over Hong Kong.
Citizens took to the streets on Wednesday in defiance of a ban imposed by the city’s authorities on the annual July 1st pro-democracy march for the first time since 2003. According to the latest reports, at least 370 arrests were made as police used water cannons and pepper spray to repel protesters determined to slow the city’s descent into the arms of a communist totalitarian state.