Hong Kong police set up a hotline for people to snitch on those breaching China’s draconian national security law, and it got more than 1,000 calls within hours

Hong Kong police set up a hotline for people to snitch on those breaching China’s draconian national security law, and it got more than 1,000 calls within hours
A woman (centre L) uses her phone while waiting to vote during primary elections in Hong Kong on July 12, 2020. - Pro-democracy parties in Hong Kong held primary polls on July 11 and 12 to choose candidates for upcoming legislative elections despite warnings from government officials that it may be in breach of a new security law imposed by China. (Photo by ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP) (Photo by ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman waiting to vote during a primary election in Hong Kong on July 12, 2020.

ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP via Getty Images


  • The Hong Kong police launched a tip line on Thursday for people could report what they believed were violations of China’s new national security law.
  • Tips could be submitted anonymously via phone calls, texts, email, or WeChat.
  • By 6 p.m. local time more than 1,000 purported tips had been received, a police spokesperson told the South China Morning Post, without specifying what they were or whether the force had acted on them.
  • The national security law came into force on June 30 and gave Beijing new powers to crack down on whatever it considered dissent and sedition.
  • The Post first reported on the scheme on October 28. A government source told the paper at the time: “There will be eyes and ears everywhere.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Hong Kong police has launched a hotline for people to snitch on those breaking China’s draconian new national security law — and they received more than 1,000 purported tips within hours.

The force launched the scheme on Thursday, saying tips could be submitted via phone call, SMS, email, or WeChat, and that callers’ personal details would not be collected.

“This hotline is solely for receiving national security-related intelligence such as information, photos, audio or video clips,” police said Thursday, the force wrote in a Facebook post.

And as of 6 p.m. local time on Thursday the force had received more than 1,000 purported tips, a police spokesperson told the South China Morning Post, without specifying what they were about or whether the force had acted on them.

—Hong Kong Police Force (@hkpoliceforce) November 5, 2020

China’s new national security law for Hong Kong came into force on June 30, and followed months of vocal protests in opposition.

The law gave China the power to define and punish “separatism, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference” in the city as it sees fit.

‘Eyes and ears everywhere’

The South China Morning Post first reported the launch of the hotline on October 28.

A Hong Kong government source told the newspaper at the time that the aim of the hotline was to send a signal “there will be eyes and ears everywhere.”

On Thursday, the WeChat tipline became overloaded and crashed, The Standard newspaper said, warning users: “Too many attempts, try again later.”

The phone line also crashed at one point, the paper said.

hong kong police riot guns

Police officers keep watch on people protesting the national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020.

Kyodo News via Getty Images


The introduction of the national security law effectively marked the end of Hong Kong’s political autonomy from the mainland, which it had enjoyed since being handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

A number of high profile pro-democracy leaders have fled the country since, fearing retribution. Countries like the UK have offered a path to citizenship or asylum to Hong Kongers and their families.

  • Read more:
  • Oxford is asking students specializing in China to submit papers anonymously so they don’t fall foul of Hong Kong’s draconian national security law
  • China threatens to retaliate against the UK for hosting ‘anti-China forces’ after Boris Johnson welcomed a pro-democracy activist who fled Hong Kong to escape arrest
  • Teenage arrests, blank protest signs, and a key election postponed: What one month of China’s new national security law for Hong Kong looked like
  • The richest family in Hong Kong lost $8 billion in the past year — and it shows just how uncertain the city’s future is

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Hong Kong
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National Security Law

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