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Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong asylum seekers turned away by US consulate

Four activists were let in but did not stay, local paper reports

A woman carries an American flag during a protest outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong in July.   © AP

HONG KONG -- Four pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong went to the U.S. Consulate here to seek asylum but were apparently turned away, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

Asked about the matter by Nikkei, the consulate said it has no information to provide at this time.

The four individuals ran up the street and talked to security guards at the entrance before being let in, according to the SCMP report. The exact nature of the conversation is not known. The Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper said it is understood that the asylum claims were rejected but there was no official confirmation.

At least one of the activists faces charges related to participating in anti-government demonstrations last year, the SCMP reported.

Separately, Hong Kong police arrested three activists that day under the national security law, including Tony Chung, former leader of pro-independence group Studentlocalism. The Oriental Daily News reported that Chung was headed to the U.S. Consulate to seek asylum but detained at a nearby coffee shop before he could approach the consulate building. It is not known whether these arrests are connected with the asylum bid by the four activists.

In August, 12 Hong Kong activists attempting to reach Taiwan were detained at sea by Chinese authorities.

Asylum bids are becoming a diplomatic issue as Beijing clamps down on pro-democracy activists. The Chinese government warned Canada not to accept Hong Kong protest participants as refugees. And the Hong Kong government recently criticized Germany for granting refugee status to a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist facing a rioting charge in connection with last year's anti-China protests.

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