A Hong Kong academic who helped run a now-dissolved defense fund for democracy protesters has been arrested at the airport under the national security law, according to two legal sources. he told AFP on Wednesday.
Hui Po-keung, a leading cultural studies scholar, was on his way to take up an academic post in Europe before he was detained on Tuesday, the sources said, asking not to be identified.
The arrest was confirmed by a second judicial source. Police have not yet responded to a request for comment.
Hui was arrested for “collusion with foreign forces,” a source said, an offense under a new security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong in response to massive protests three years ago.
The law has crushed dissent in the once-open mall and can lead to life in prison.
Hui was one of six trustees of the “612 Humanitarian Relief Fund” that helped arrested protesters pay their legal and medical bills.
Other trustees of the fund include retired clergyman Cardinal Joseph Zen, veteran lawyer Margaret Ng, gay rights activist and pop singer Denise Ho and imprisoned democracy activist Cyd Ho.
The fund was dissolved last year after the city’s national security police demanded it hand over operational details, including information about its donors and recipients.
Shortly before the fund closed, Hong Kong’s Lingnan University confirmed that its contract with Hui had ended the previous month, but declined to explain why on grounds of personal privacy.
Academics who played leading roles in Hong Kong’s now decimated democracy movement have often found themselves abandoned by universities and have difficulty finding work.
An active social commentator and prolific author, Hui taught for more than two decades at Lingnan University and was credited by prominent former student leader Nathan Law with inspiring his political career.