(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Police have arrested five people on sedition charges for publishing children’s books that allegedly incite hatred towards the city’s government #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.23: The arrests were the latest involving suspected critics of Hong Kong’s government that have raised fears about the shrinking space for dissent since Beijing imposed a national security law in June 2020 to put an end to pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous city.

HONG KONG: Police arrest publishers of ‘seditious’ children’s books featuring wolves and sheep and the General Union of H.K Speech Therapists could not be reached for comment.

Remember these faces, their trial and this moment in China’s history These people once ran for local office, founded unions and fought for democratic freedoms.

Police said one book, Defenders of the Sheep Village, was connected to the protests.

In the story, wolves want to occupy the village and eat the sheep, who in turn use their horns to fight back.

The two men and three women arrested were members of a speech therapists’ union who produced books for children.

The five were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to publish seditious material under a colonial-era law which had been rarely used before the anti-government protests began in the former British colony.

A person in handcuffs and with a bag over their head is escorted out of a building.
The five people arrested on sedition charges were all members of a speech therapists’ union.(Reuters: Tyrone Siu)

Senior Superintendent Steve Li told a media briefing that police were concerned by the books because the information inside for children “turns their mind and develops a moral standard to be against society”.

Another book told the story of 12 sheep taken by wolves to a beasts’ village where they would be cooked.

Allegedly it could be potentially seen as alluding to the 12 Hong Kong people captured by China in August last year at sea as they tried to flee the city by boat.

Superintendent Li said the story was not factual and incited hatred against authorities.

A third book told the story of wolves sneaking through a hole into a sheep village and shows the wolves as dirty and the sheep as clean.

This aimed to create hatred against the government, Superintendent Li said.

Piles of children's books with Chinese writing on the covers.
All three of the books cited by the police featured wolves and sheep.(Reuters: Tyrone Siu)

First convictions under the sedition law can carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison, the police said.

Now, they’re political prisoners and the faces of dramatic change in Hong Kong.

The arrests came as a Hong Kong court denied bail to four top editors and journalists from the now-defunct Apple Daily pro-democracy newspaper.

They were arrested Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to collude with foreign powers to endanger national security.

So far, eight former employees have been arrested. Apply Daily ceased operations in June after police raided the newspaper’s offices, confiscating hard drives and laptops, and seized its assets.

Authorities have denied any erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong — which returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula aimed at preserving its freedoms and role as a financial hub — but say China’s national security is a red line.

Security officials have said law enforcement action is based on evidence and has nothing to do with an individual’s political stance, background or profession.

Reuters/AP

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: July.23: 2021:

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(NEW YORK CITY) JUST IN: A man previously convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx in 2002 has been arrested and charged with assaulting a 65-year-old Asian woman in a hate crime, an attack captured on a video that went viral amid a rise in anti-Asian incidents in the U.S #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Apr.01: They said Mr Elliot, who was living at a hotel that serves as a homeless shelter a few blocks from the scene of the attack, was released from prison in 2019 and on lifetime parole.

New York City police arrest suspect in brutal bashing of Asian-American woman: Police said Brandon Elliot, 38, was the man seen on video kicking and stomping on the woman on Monday.

Posted Yesterday at 12:50pm, updated 12h ago

Play Video. Duration: 35 seconds
CCTV footage shows a man kicking a 65-year-old woman several times in a New York City street.

He was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx in 2002, when he was 19. 

He faces charges of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, assault and attempted assault in the attack, police said.

It wasn’t immediately known whether he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

Mr Elliot was due to be arraigned on Wednesday (local time) on two charges of second-degree assault as a hate crime and one count of first-degree attempted assault as a hate crime, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said at a news briefing.

“Mr Elliot is accused of brutally shoving, kicking and stomping a 65-year-old mother to the ground after telling her that she didn’t belong here,” Mr Vance said.

“There is no place for these atrocious acts of anti-Asian violence in New York.”

Mr Vance added that his office has more than a dozen open cases and ongoing investigations into apparent hate incidents against members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community since the start of this year.

The New York Police Department said its Hate Crimes Task Force had been looking for the assailant since Monday afternoon (local time) and found Mr Elliot through an investigation that included social media and community tips.

Mr Elliot, who was on lifetime parole after serving a prison term for murdering his mother, was arrested without incident at his residence in New York City on Tuesday, police said.

Victim discharged from hospital after ‘unnecessary assault’

The victim was identified as Vilma Kari, a 65-year-old woman who immigrated from the Philippines, her daughter told The New York Times; the newspaper did not identify Ms Kari’s daughter.

She was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday after being treated for serious injuries, a hospital spokesperson said.

“We want to extend our sincere well wishes and speedy recovery to the elderly lady for this unnecessary assault,” Wellington Chen, executive director of New York City’s Chinatown Partnership, said.

“Hope this arrest gives her and her family a bit of relief.”

Police on Tuesday had blanketed the midtown Manhattan neighbourhood with wanted posters and offered a $US2,500 ($3,282) reward for information leading to the whereabouts of the man seen on surveillance video brutalising the woman. Loading

The attack on Monday was among the latest in a national spike in anti-Asian hate crimes, and happened just weeks after a mass shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent.

The surge in violence has been linked in part to misplaced blame for the coronavirus and former president Donald Trump’s use of racially charged terms like “Chinese virus”.

US President Joe Biden has deplored the surge in anti-Asian violence, saying last week that “hate can have no safe harbour in America”.

Witnesses called out for failing to act

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Monday’s attack “absolutely disgusting and outrageous”.

He said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that witnesses did not intervene.

“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,” Mr de Blasio said, evoking the post-9/11 mantra of “see something, say something”.

The attack happened late on Monday morning outside an apartment building two blocks from Times Square, a bustling, heavily policed section of midtown Manhattan known as the “Crossroads of the World”.

WARNING: VIDEO SHOWS GRAPHIC CONTENT:

Two workers inside the building who appeared to be security guards were seen on surveillance video witnessing the attack but failing to come to the woman’s aid.

One of them was seen closing the building door as the woman was on the ground.

The attacker was able to casually walk away while onlookers watched, the video showed.

The building’s management company said they were suspended pending an investigation. The workers’ union said they called for help immediately.

“If you see someone being attacked, do whatever you can,” Mr de Blasio said.

“Make noise. Call out what’s happening. Go and try and help. Immediately call for help. Call 911.

“This is something where we all have to be part of the solution. We can’t just stand back and watch a heinous act happening.”

This year in New York City there have been 33 hate crimes with an Asian victim as of Sunday, police said. There were 11 such attacks by the same time last year.

AP/ABC/

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Apr.01: 2021:

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