Hong Kong targets activists day after vote

A day after Hong Kong picked a new Beijing-backed leader, police launched a fresh round of arrests of student leaders and other prominent figures involved with the huge 2014 Umbrella Movement pro-democracy protests.

Carrie Lam waves after her victory Sunday as Hong Kong's chief executive at the Convention Center.

Speaking to reporters after the result was announced, Lam thanked her rivals and members of the election committee "no matter who they voted for".

Law was already convicted a year ago with fellow student leaders Joshua Wong and Alex Chow for taking part in, or inciting others to take part in, an anti-China protest that led up to the major rallies.

Hong Kong's citizens are wary of Lam, largely because she's seen as Beijing's top pick.

Those concerns were heightened on Monday when police charged nine leading campaigners who took part in the Umbrella Movement of 2014 - including student protesters and lawmakers - in connection with the rallies.

Lam won with 772 votes, the South China Morning Post reported citing an unofficial count.

Lawmaker Tanya Chan said at least nine protest leaders including herself received calls from the police notifying them of their charges.

Back in 2014, Beijing decided that it wanted to screen candidates.

Lam met with incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying earlier on Monday.

The former No 2 official, who secured 777 out of the 1,186 votes cast by the Election Committee tasked to pick the next chief executive, also vowed to find ways to improve relations between the executive and the legislature.

"China promised that Hong Kong people would run Hong Kong", Mabel Yau, 52, one of protesters outside the voting site, told The New York Times.

In a major development, Carrie Lam has been elected as the chief executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

"Carrie Lam said her government's first mission is to mend cleavages in society and to create a dialogue, but now with this action, I don't see how the government can create a dialogue with the opposition", he said in an interview. Disenchanted Hong Kong people responded to Beijing's latest slap in the face with resigned humor.

The vote was dismissed as a sham by democracy campaigners who fear Beijing is tightening its grip on semi-autonomous Hong Kong.

While the 59-year-old veteran politician never gained the support of the Hong Kong people during her campaign, she was widely believed to have the backing of Beijing. Lam, who will be the city's first woman leader, was formerly his deputy.

"I have every confidence that we will have a very smooth transition", said Lam, after shaking hands with Leung.

"Without a fair, transparent, genuine democracy, a lot of issues can not be dealt with in Hong Kong", said Alvin Yeung, the leader of the Civic Party and a member of the legislative assembly.

While Hong Kong's proximity to China has been a boon for the city, bringing in Chinese investment and spending, businesses have also faced growing competition from mainland Chinese firms in core sectors like services and property.

"In the last election, Beijing authorities only made up their minds in the last week, so it was more hard for them to consolidate the pro-establishment votes", political analyst Ivan Choy told The Business Times.

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