Former Canto-pop singer Tommy Yuen has been arrested in Hong Kong by national security police.
The Hong Kong singer is an outspoken supporter of democracy and anti-government in the city. Yuen was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and acting with seditious intent, according to reports. Police confirmed they detained the 41-year-old singer and his 20-year-old assistant. Sources identified the detainees as Yuen, a member of the defunct Canto-pop boy band E-kids, first formed in 2002.
Senior Superintendent Steve Li Kwai says the singer is accused of using money raised online to support protesters for his own personal use. Around HK$1 million ($128,200 USD) was raised by Yuen through his social media platforms through March to November 2021. The money was deposited into a bank account belonging to the singer’s assistant, who is also under arrest.
“About HK$340,000 was withdrawn in cash on dozens of occasions over the nine-month period. We are still investigating what it was used for,” the SCMP reports. There is no evidence to suggest any of the money was used to support protesters as alleged on social media. Police investigation shows some of the money was spent, while the rest was used for betting.
Tommy Yuen also performed a song during an online concert in November 2021 with amended lyrics. Those lyrics included the popular protest slogan, “We die for the fight. Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times.” Yuen is also accused of posting messages online that carried seditious intent since September 2021.
Yuen also allegedly posted messages online about the judges who ruled against him in previous cases. At least one of those cases stemmed from drunk-driving charges and speeding. Yuen was also arrested in June 2021 for drinking in a place without a liquor license.
Yuen is not the first singer to be arrested by China’s national security officers. Denise Ho Wan-sze was among seven people who were taken into custody in December 2021. Their crimes include allegedly publishing seditious content aimed to stir up hatred against the Chinese government.