1 August 2023
Today, Hong Kong Watch Canada, has formally called for the Canadian Government to investigate the decision to issue visas for over 300 Hong Kong police officers to attend the World Police and Fire Games hosted in Winnipeg.
The decision by the Canadian Government to issue visas for Hong Kong police officers allowing them to attend the police and fire games, comes two weeks after Hong Kong Police issued arrest warrants and bounties for eight Hong Kong activists living overseas.
On Saturday, a video emerged on social media of Hong Kong Police officers marching through the streets of Winnipeg as part of the games. After boos from the local Hong Kong community who came out to protest their attendance, some of the officers were heard issuing threats and seeking to intimidate the crowd.
Commenting on their attendance, Hong Kong Watch Canada Patron and Shadow Minister for National Defence, James Bezan MP, said that the police officers’ attendance at the games was “unacceptable at a time when the police are actively targeting activists.”
Hong Kong Watch Canada Patron and Deputy Leader of the Conservatives, Melissa Lantsman MP, said:
“News that Canada approved visas for them to participate in the World Police and Fire Games here is extremely concerning. They have no place here; no authoritarian police services do – and IRCC should never have approved these visas.”
Hong Kong Watch’s Director of Policy, Sam Goodman, said:
“It is shocking that the Canadian Government would issue visas to police officers who have spent the last three years dismantling Hong Kong’s freedoms, jailing activists, lawmakers, and journalists, closing the office of independent media outlets like Apple Daily, and now targeting activists overseas and their families.
The subsequent threatening behaviour of some of these police officers that has been shared on social media towards members of the Hong Kong community in Canada, is further evidence on why the Government should never have issued visas for police officers culpable for the human rights crackdown in Hong Kong.
We urge the Government to investigate this matter and explain why a mere two weeks after prominent pro-democracy activists living overseas were targeted with warrants and bounties, these police officers were allowed to attend the games here in Canada.” #