China has today ‘taken over’ a hotel and immediately transformed it into its intelligence unit force’s headquarters to operate Hong Kong’s new security laws.
The new security base in the hotel is located nearby Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, where ominously pro-democracy protests took place for years, as well as the annual vigil that commemorates Beijing’s Tiananmen Square massacre.
Police moved in and blocked roads around the hotel surrounding it with water-filled barriers and quickly erected a plaque with the security agency’s name. The previous owner/operator of the hotel is unknown.
The Chinese flag was also unfurled outside the hotel alongside another plaque with the insignia of the People’s Republic of China.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said of the move: “The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was inaugurated here on Wednesday morning.”
The new headquarters will follow Beijing’s newly imposed security laws in Hong Kong to kerb acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion.
Hong Kong’s new Chinese security laws are designed to crush any and all dissent to the new laws and police in Hong Kong have made arrests. The arrests are made where people voice political views now deemed illegal, such as advocating free speech, independence or autonomy.
China argues national security is now the responsibility of the central government and says the laws are needed to instill stability after pro-democracy demonstrations took place recently.
The opening of the new security office comes little more than a day after Hong Kong announced expanded search and surveillance powers for police investigating national security crimes.
The new rules also empower Hong Kong police to order content on the internet to be taken down if it is deemed to breach national security.