Police in Hong Kong on Wednesday said they issued their first arrest under the newly passed security law that critics say undermines the semi-autonomous territory’s judicial independence and gives China unprecedented power over the city.
The man was arrested for carrying a flag that called for Hong Kong’s independence, the Associated Press reported. He was reportedly intercepted by law enforcement after a crowd at the city’s Causeway Bay was issued warnings that they could be in violation of the new law. Hong Kong Police also tweeted news of the arrest.
City police said that they raised a “new purple warning flag” to warn protesters that by chanting independence slogans “they may have breached” the new law.
China passed the law on Tuesday that many in the Hong Kong media say will allow Beijing to crack down on any activity there that authorities deem subversive with secessionist aims.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke out against China’s power grab in a statement shortly before reports of the bill’s approval.
“If China wants to regain the trust of Hong Kongers and the international community, it should honor the promises it made to the Hong Kong people and to the United Kingdom in the U.N.-registered 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Pompeo’s statement read.
Bloomberg reported that earlier in the day, Chinese officials described the new law as a “sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of Beijing’s top critics in the city.
The Associated Press contributed to this report