The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Monday banned the operation of the so-called "Hong Kong National Party" which advocates "Hong Kong independence".
In exercise of the power conferred on the secretary for security by the Societies Ordinance, "I hereby order that the operation or continued operation of the Hong Kong National Party in Hong Kong be prohibited," said Lee Ka Chiu, secretary for security of the HKSAR government.
The order was published in the Gazette on Monday and took effect on publication.
The "Hong Kong National Party" is an illegal group from Monday on, said Lee at a press conference, adding that according to the Societies Ordinance, to join in activities of or provide financial help to any illegal group is against the law.
The order was made to safeguard national security, public security, public order, and other people's rights and freedom, he said.
The "Hong Kong National Party" sets "Hong Kong independence" as its creed, which is against the Basic Law, he noted.
The group has taken substantial action following the creed and declared that it will not rule out the use of force to attain "Hong Kong independence," Lee said, stressing that such speeches and actions should not be taken merely as political slogans.
Hong Kong citizens enjoy freedom of association and speech, but such freedom is not limitless and should be within the law, Lee said.
Earlier, Lee had sent a letter to the group, giving them time to submit explanations. But its convenor still has kept advocating "Hong Kong independence".
The moves were condemned by various communities in Hong Kong, and they asked the HKSAR government to deal with the group according to law.