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Second Hong Kong radio host arrested for sedition

 A Hong Kong internet radio host was arrested on Sunday under a little-used colonial-era sedition law that authorities have begun to exercise against critics of Beijing.

Agents from the police department of national security arrested Wan Yiu-sing, 52, on the charge of "seditious intent," according to a police statement.

Second Hong Kong radio host arrested for sedition

The authorities did not reveal what Wan had said or done that he was potentially seditious.

The radio personality, better known by his name DJ "Giggs," has hosted programs discussing anti-government demonstrations and previously asked for donations to support young Hong Kongers who have fled to nearby Taiwan.

Hong Kong's sedition law is separate from a broad national security law that Beijing imposed on the city last summer in an attempt to crack down on dissent.

Instead, it dates back to the mid-19th century during British colonial rule.

It remained on the books after the 1997 handover to China, but was never used in a city that has enjoyed political freedoms never seen before in mainland China.

But after the huge and often violent protests for democracy in 2019, prosecutors dusted off the law.

Last September, another pro-democracy radio host, Tam Tak-chi, became the first person charged with sedition since the handover.

He is currently in custody awaiting trial.

Prosecutors allege that popular protest slogans he uttered, such as "Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time" and "Dissolve the Police," were seditious.

Sedition is classified as words that incite "hatred or contempt" for the government or cause discontent and dissatisfaction among residents.

Tam's upcoming trial will be a legal test case of how sedition fits in with the freedoms of speech supposedly guaranteed by Hong Kong's mini-constitution and its bill of rights.

Beijing's national security law has curtailed those freedoms.

It has cracked down on protests and effectively outlawed a number of peaceful political views, including advocating for independence, greater autonomy, or full democracy in Hong Kong.

Wan was previously arrested on a national security charge last year, one of more than 100 dissidents investigated under the new powers since they took effect in June.

At the time, the national security department of the police said it suspected that Wan had illegally processed funds to support individuals or organizations advocating for secessionist activities, a possible reference to donations for Hong Kongers in Taiwan.

He has not yet been charged with a national security crime, and his arrest for sedition may indicate that the police have decided to use colonial-era law.

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