American Lawyer Detained in Mass Hong Kong Arrests

John Clancey, a partner at Ho Tse Wai & Partners, was one of more than 50 people arrested by the Hong Kong police on Wednesday due to their involvement in an unauthorized opposition primary election last July. According to the Associated Press, Clancey has since been granted bail.

As part of their citywide operation, police also raided the offices of Clancey’s local law firm. In a statement, the firm said that the police raid was unrelated to the work of the firm, and assured clients that their information has not been compromised.

According to Clancey’s bio on the firm’s website, he was admitted to practice as a solicitor in Hong Kong in 1997 and has been working at the firm since then. He is the chairman of the Asian Human Rights Commission and the Asian Legal Resource Centre, as well as a founding member of the executive committee of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.

The firm was founded in 1995 by Albert Ho, a veteran pro-democracy activist and solicitor. Ho was previously detained for participating in unauthorized assemblies during citywide anti-government protests in 2019. It does not appear he was arrested in Wednesday’s operations.

In November, the Hong Kong government disqualified four opposition lawmakers including the representative for the legal profession in the city’s legislature since 2012, barrister Dennis Kwok.

In force since June, the national security law prohibits acts of subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers. Serious offenders face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

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