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Former British Airways Flight Attendant Faces Life Imprisonment Under Hong Kong’s Anti-Subversion Laws

Former British Airways Flight Attendant Faces Life Imprisonment Under Hong Kong’s Anti-Subversion Laws

A former British Airways flight attendant who was general secretary of the airline’s powerful Hong Kong cabin crew union now faces the prospect of life in prison after being arrested under the Chinese territory’s controversial national security laws that criminalises anything that could potentially undermine the power or authority of Beijing.

Carol Ng, who worked for BA for nearly three decades and had led the British Airways Hong Kong International Cabin Crew Association up until 2018, was detained in a dawn raid at her home on January 6 by officers from the national security department who have accused Ng of subverting the power of the state.

Carol was part of a group of 53 suspects rounded up in the biggest use of Hong Kong’s national security law since it came into force in June 2020, with nearly 1,000 police officers involved in the operation. The group of activists and trade unionists are accused of holding primaries for pro-democracy candidates in the postponed Hong Kong elections.

“Carol’s arrest, along with that of 52 other activists, is an outrageous attack on workers that will only breed more resistance,” slammed Stephen Cotton, general secretary of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).

“Their arrest represents a serious violation of fundamental human rights and freedom of speech, as well as the further erosion of democracy in Hong Kong.”

Carol holds British nationality and her supporters have called on the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office to take diplomatic steps to secure her release.

Suspects found guilty of breaking the national security law face up to life imprisonment. Critics have labelled the law “evil” and say it severely curtails freedom of speech and what would be considered lawful protest in other countries.

Carol worked for British Airways until 2018 when the airline suddenly closed down its international cabin crew base in the territory. At the time she was credited with mounting a high-profile medial campaign to highlight what was seen as the rights of long-serving workers being ignored.

Although British Airways says it always followed the rules and laws of Hong Kong in handling the base closure, Carol’s activism secured a better pay off for affected workers.

View Comments (7)
  • The British have used the divide and conquer tactic throughout history and have left poison pills in places long after they left. Many major conflicts today can be traced to British meddling.

    India vs Pakistan. Israeli Palestine issue. HK vs China.

    These internal divisions are all premeditated at the highest level. Any rational thinking person who is not beholden to western propaganda will see this pattern. Use your own critical thinking and tell me you do not see a pattern.

    India was conquered an small expeditionary force not by force but by turning the locals on one another.

    The westerners tactics have not changed.

    Here we have a spy who got caught and will get put on trial now. These pro-east HKers think the brits care about them but are getting used. The brits will discard the HK people once it is in their interest to do so and they won’t feel anything.

    But please continue to push this narrative.

      • Hi Lew – you have your narrative and I have mine.
        However, I wonder if you have any idea of what basic human freedoms are.
        They are slipping away even in the west, and people like you are the biggest cheerleaders of that trend.

  • I don’t think Lew meant that she was actually a spy — more that she was being accused of it by the CCP to fit their narrative.

  • Nury Vittachi of The Standard writes:
    ACTUALLY, NOBODY IN HONG KONG has been arrested for “organizing primaries”. Seriously.
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    Some people were detained on suspicion of “conspiring to subvert state powers”, a crime recognized worldwide.
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    It’s interesting to talk to lawyers and judges about this. In legal terms, no “primaries” took place in July of last year. Neither the Basic Law nor the more general rule of law recognizes the concept. Instead, the public events of mid-July were actually the opening stage of a laam tsau (“burn together” or “mutual destruction”) campaign to paralyze Hong Kong. Neither side disputes this.
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    CONTEXT HELPS UNDERSTANDING
    Countries have national security laws against conspiracies to paralyze society. The US has them, the UK has them, EU counties have them, as do Asian countries and other jurisdictions worldwide. So the question is this: Was there an actual threat to paralyze Hong Kong?
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    The mainland Chinese government says “yes, there was,” but let’s ignore them.
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    The Hong Kong government says “yes, there was,” but let’s ignore them, too.
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    Let’s listen only to the opposition members themselves.
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    IN THEIR OWN WORDS
    Benny Tai Yiu-ting says the plan was to identify populism-sparking candidates to create a bloc vote of more than 35 members in the Legislative Council — and then use it as a “massive constitutional weapon” to paralyze society.
    .
    The weapon would veto the budget; freeze all government spending (ie, the money that keeps our society running); create a state of emergency; and ultimately generate so much chaos that it would force China’s leadership to take control of Hong Kong, which would ultimately trigger international sanctions from the US. Oh joy and bliss.
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    This was discussed widely and outlined in detail, particularly in a lengthy piece by Benny Tai entitled “10 steps to real mutual destruction” printed on April 28, 2020, in Apple Daily, a Chinese newspaper owned by Jimmy Lai, Donald Trump’s biggest cheerleader in Asia.
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    MAIN ELEMENTS
    While some bits were disputed, the main elements were generally agreed:
    Paralyzing the government
    Recognizing violence as acceptable
    Deliberately crashing the economy
    Creating a national emergency
    Forcing a declaration of martial law
    Sidelining pro-peace opposition members in favor of violent radicals
    Embracing the “burn together” principle
    Continuing the acceptance of foreign cash
    Setting up new trade unions to sideline existing ones
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    In Tai’s own words: “The ninth step in December of 2021 will see increasingly fierce resistance in the streets with an equally bloody crackdown, Hongkongers will start a mass strike, paralysing society. When it comes to the tenth step, we will be already holding the Chinese Communist Party and jumping off the cliff together.”
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    AAAAWKWARD
    It got a bit awkward when junior superstar Joshua Wong insisted that the bloc must ALSO force through the infamous “five demands”. Hmm. These have long been recognized as legally incoherent on both sides. So rioters who had already pleaded guilty to rioting in Hong Kong’s British-style legal system would be declared non-rioters against their own wishes and against the findings of the court — clearly a nonsensical state of affairs.
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    Bizarrely, while many objected to this, the Civic Party, despite being dominated by lawyers, chose to back Wong on it.
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    THE SECRET PAYMENTS
    There’s also a dark sub-plot. Police noted clear financial irregularities detected during stage one of laam tsau, with sums of money ranging from HK$4,000 to HK$290,000 changing hands. They are problematic in the laam tsau context, but if you accept the classification of the events of July 2020 as “primaries”, the cash payments become even more of a problem.
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    Where did the money come from, who received it, and what services was it for?
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    The police showed their evidence to judges who immediately agreed to support the freezing of HK$1.6 million in bank accounts. The plot thickens.
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    COULD THE CONSPIRACY HAVE WORKED?
    Unlikely, senior lawyers say. At most, only one in four Hong Kong adults (1.6 million people) support the opposition, and numbers have likely fallen due to violence, irrationality, Trumpism, and the growing perception that the opposition’s ultimate loyalty is to the United States and UK, rather than Hong Kong.
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    IF SUPPORT FOR THE PRO-US SIDE HAS FALLEN, COULD HONG KONG HAVE A DEMOCRATIC ELECTION, THEN?
    Are you kidding? Xi Jinping would probably rather eat his own head.
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    BUT TAI’S SIDE HAS STRONG LEGAL ARGUMENTS, RIGHT?
    Some of them speak impressively, it must be said. They claim Article 73 (2) of the Basic Law empowers them to refuse allocation of funds to the government and vote down the annual budget. This would force new elections, and a second veto of the budget would force the chief executive to resign as specified in Article 52 (3).
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    THAT ARGUMENT SOUNDS HEAVYWEIGHT
    True. Yet senior lawyers say politicians are cherry-picking laws to underpin their destructive campaign. The Basic Law as a whole is clearly designed to bolster a stable, law-abiding society, not destroy one.
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    “The powers given to legislators under Articles 73 (2), 50, 51 and 52 (3) of the Basic Law are to be exercised in good faith, in the best interests of the community, maintaining prosperity and stability in the special administrative region,” said Henry Litton, retired Court of Final Appeal judge. “A councillor may be muddle-headed, ignorant and unreasonable and still be carrying out his constitutional duty as a lawmaker. But when the whole essence of his endeavours is to wreak havoc and bring down the government, he is no longer performing constitutional duties under the Basic Law. He is using the Basic Law as a disguise for subversive activities.”
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    Nowhere in the world would the hoped-for level of chaos and destruction be seen as supportable by law, top lawyers say.
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    WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
    The Hong Kong judiciary is ultra-British, right down to the itchy wigs, and will follow the system you’ve seen in British TV courtroom dramas. The police will pass their interview notes to the Department of Justice to decide which cases are likely to have “a reasonable prospect of conviction”. In practice, many cases will not be pursued, and only the ones with clear evidence of criminality will proceed to court.
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    AND FINALLY
    As always, don’t trust ANY journalists, including me. Keep an open mind, and if you’re interested in the subject, talk to a range of knowledgeable lawyers and judges.
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    Hong Kong’s defence rests, m’lud.

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