As China fortifies security, ex-cop John Lee has been designated No. 2 official in Hong Kong.

ex-cop John Lee

Security is a top priority for China in Hong Kong, as evidenced by a cabinet change on Thursday that saw security secretary John Lee, a former long-serving police officer, elevated to the city's No. 2 position. According to political analysts, this is only the latest in a series of measures taken by Beijing to quell pro-democracy rallies in the city, a policy that is critical to the Chinese ruling party's long-term goals for the Asian financial hub.

Hong Kong's top official, Carrie Lam, said during a press conference Friday that Security Secretary John Lee, a former long-time police official, had been elevated to Chief Secretary for Administration. The selections were confirmed by China's cabinet on Wednesday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The next day, Apple Daily, the city's largest pro-democracy newspaper, was forced to close due to a campaign headed by Lee.

Lee, 63, will succeed Matthew Cheung as Chief Secretary, while Police Commissioner Chris Tang, 55, will take over as Security Secretary. Tang's post at the law enforcement agency will be taken up by Raymond Siu, 55, a deputy police commissioner who joined the force in 1988.

The government lost an opportunity to appoint a better team to restore the financial hub's shattered economy, according to David Webb, a renowned Hong Kong investor who has invested in Apple Daily's parent company, Next Digital Ltd. In a text message, Webb added, “Instead, Hong Kong is starting to look more like a police state, with the No. 2 positions now being filled by a hardliner whose recent achievement is to cripple a newspaper,”



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