13 Jan 2022

Pursued For Life - HK's hunt for fugitives using the National Security Law

Today, 2022-01-13, Safeguard Defenders releases its latest investigation, on the growing threats by both the Hong Kong police force (HKPF) and government officials on chasing down exiled ex-lawmakers and democracy protesters by any means necessary, including multiple threats of using INTERPOL to capture and return them. Download investigation here, visit the publication tab, or click on the cover below.

The investigation also exposes the growing number of people that police, government or pro-government media has acknowledged are wanted under the National Security Law. The quotes from officials are chilling and show that both Hong Kong and China are willing to use any method they can to secure their return, as shown when both China and Hong Kong requested, using INTERPOL channels, help from Danish police to investigate two Danish members of parliaments for assisting Ted Hui to flee, as exposed in Danish media earlier and to the world by Safeguard Defenders here

The investigation is accompanied by an open letter to INTERPOL, signed by 16 of those confirmed or suspected of wanted under the National Security Law, asking INTERPOL to check its databases for any Red Notice or Diffusion in effect on them - which would be in clear violation of INTERPOL's charter, to inform them of several of them having been given asylum and who should thus, by INTERPOL rules, have any such notice on them rescinded, and, most importantly, to place these individuals on preventive notice - to block any possible request from China or Hong Kong for them to be put on Red Notice or Diffusion. 

Read the open letter as PDF here, or at bottom of page:


China's misuse of INTERPOL has now been identified and proven, through Safeguard Defenders investigation on the matter, "No Room To Run", released November 15, 2021. However, despite attempts to ensure that China did not gain a set on INTERPOL's powerful Executive Committee at the November 23-25 (2021) election, China was successful in having Hu Binchen, a police officer working on "international judicial cooperation" installed, adding further fear of misuse and abuse. 

Should Hong Kong or China successfully issue Red Notices or Diffusions against these democracy activists, it would further tarnished INTERPOLs reputation, especially after its failure to revoke, in a timely manner, the Red Notice on Uyghur Idris Hasan, who is now facing extradition from Morocco to China, and possible life in prison, due to INTERPOL's failure to review China's request.

This all follows Safeguard Defenders' exposé on how China is, in violation of a bilateral treaty with Taiwan, chasing Taiwanese citizens having them returned to the PRC using both deportations and extraditions. 





To the urgent attention of:

  • Interpol General Secretariat,
  • Secretary-General Jürgen Stock, and
  • The Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF)

--- 13 January 2022

We, the undersigned signatories to this open letter, are all human rights activists, former elected lawmakers, or supporters of them, in- and for Hong Kong. Most of us have been forced to flee Hong Kong after the imposition of the National Security Law, which essentially created a set of political crimes. Our only real crime is standing up for the fundamental human rights and liberties enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Over the last year, Hong Kong authorities, as well as the Chinese government, have used increasingly hostile and belligerent language about ‘going after’ us, chasing us down, and bring us back to Hong Kong to stand trial for the exercise of basic political freedoms. On several occasions, and getting more frequent, Hong Kong governmental leaders, police and State-aligned media have brought up using the INTERPOL system to detain and have us extradited. A new brief report on these threats is being published today, providing details on these development, and the very real danger it places us in. We need INTERPOL to ensure our protection from such political abuse of Red Notices, Diffusions and other tools at their disposal.

Most of us undersigned have been confirmed as being wanted or having an arrest warrant on us, based on the National Security Law. Others have been implicated in court documents or in State-aligned media publications. Again, each and all of those accusations are for exercising our basic political rights. We are likely the tip of the iceberg, as tens upon tens of thousands have fled Hong Kong, and many likely wanted by authorities for political crimes.

There is a real fear that Hong Kong, or China, might have already used INTERPOL tools against us, and if not, and perhaps the greater fear for most of us signing this letter, is Hong Kong and China’s intent on doing so, as they freely admit in public.

Based on INTERPOLs charter, article 2, which stresses that the organization operates in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and article 3, which stresses that INTERPOL cannot be used for intervention or activities of a political character, we ask that INTERPOL:

  • Review its databases based upon our names, to identify any Notices, Diffusions, or other action that might be in circulation,
  • Carry out a prompt and in-depth review of any found cases based on the names here provided,
  • Take appropriate action to delete any such Notices or Diffusions in circulation,
  • Automatically delete any Notices or Diffusions for those here named which have received asylum since fleeing Hong Kong, based on INTERPOL rules, and
  • Should it be found that INTERPOL rules have, or will in the future, be breached repeatedly by either Hong Kong’s sub-bureau, or China’s national bureau, that appropriate sanctions, based on INTERPOL rules, are taken against them.

Together with a growing number of Members of Parliament around the world, we have repeatedly expressed our deep concern over the increasing use of INTERPOL by authoritarian regimes such as China (and Hong Kong). The constant threat and uncertainty of a potential arrest as China expands its long-arm policing efforts by both legal- and illegal means, creates a profound chilling effect striking at the heart of fundamental liberties such as the freedom of expression and movement everywhere.

Bearing in mind the fate of Idris Hasan, who had a Red Notice issued on him by a request from China, approved by INTEPROL, all the way back in 2017, only to be cancelled this year after Idris was detained, we feel the need to address you directly, and in public, to ensure we are not victims of similar abuse. We are aware that Idris detention was based on a Red Notice issued in violation of article 2 and 3, and which INTERPOL failed to review until it was too late. As a Uyghur wrongly accused of terrorism, his life now, literally, hangs in the balance, should he be extradited.

With this in mind, we send you this Open Letter as a Preventive Notice, and ask you to confirm receipt of this notice and assurances that the steps recommended herein are undertaken by INTERPOL to prevent any such abuse. We are all fairly public persons, with extensive reporting on us, and the political nature of the persecution of us is abundantly clear, with plentiful evidence.