Eight arrested over cyberattacks against Hong Kong police
Six men and two women allegedly doxxed police officers and launched attacks on police websites
HONG KONG Hong Kong police said yesterday they have arrested eight people for stealing and disclosing personal information of officers online, as the city grapples with the aftermath of unprecedented anti-government protests that saw its parliament trashed.
The city has been plunged into crisis by massive demonstrations since last month against its Beijing-backed government, sparked by a law that would have allowed extraditions to the mainland.
The anger spilled over on Monday as groups of mostly young, hardline protesters stormed Hong Kong's Legislative Council, spraying graffiti on the walls of its main chamber and defacing the city's seal before police regained control of the building.
It was the latest in a number of tense face-offs between protesters and authorities since the anti-government campaign began, and police have been accused of using excessive force and heavy-handed tactics against demonstrators.
Six men and two women were arrested on Tuesday night for allegedly "doxxing" police officers, launching cyberattacks on police websites and inciting others to "commit damage", Mr Swalikh Mohammed of Hong Kong police told a press conference.
"Doxxing" is the online release of personal data stolen from targets, often to shame or incite harassment against them.
The alleged crimes "affected a large number of officers, resulting not only in nuisance but threats", Mr Mohammed said, adding that some officers and their family members received death threats. He did not offer further details.
Mr Mohammed added that there were also failed attempts to take down police websites with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which involve overwhelming servers with junk requests.
Hong Kong police have said their investigations and operations are ongoing, and more people may be arrested.
Allegations against the use of excessive force and unlawful tactics have fuelled public anger in recent weeks, and many protest groups have demanded an investigation into how the police handled the demonstrations.
In a separate development, China yesterday denounced British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as "shameless", saying it had made a diplomatic complaint to London after he warned of consequences if China neglected commitments made when it took back Hong Kong in 1997.
"To say that the freedoms of Hong Kong residents is something Britain strived for is simply shameless," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing.
"I would like to ask Mr Hunt, during the British colonial era in Hong Kong, was there any democracy to speak of? Hong Kongers didn't even have the right to protest."
Only after Hong Kong's return to China did its people get an "unprecedented" guarantee about democracy and freedom, he said.
The comments followed remarks by Mr Hunt to Reuters on Monday, condemning violence on both sides and warning of consequences if China neglected commitments to allow freedoms to Hong Kong not enjoyed in mainland China, including the right to protest.
- AFP, REUTERS
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