Five arrested in Hong Kong over children's books

Five people in Hong Kong have been arrested on charges of sedition for books they published featuring sheep and wolves.

Hong Kong police say the stories are aimed at inciting hatred amongst young people towards the city's government.

Those arrested were members of a speech therapists' union that produced books for children.

They were arrested under a colonial-era law targeting sedition, which had been rarely used before the anti-government protests.

First convictions under the sedition law carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

At a media briefing on Thursday, police displayed the confiscated books.

One of them is titled "Defenders of the Sheep Village" and tells the story of wolves wanting to occupy a village and eat the sheep, who in turn use their horns to fight back.

Police say the book was connected to the 2019 protests.

Two other books were highlighted as raising concern, including one about 12 sheep taken by wolves to the beasts' village, where they would be cooked.

It potentially alludes to the 12 Hong Kong people captured by China in August last year as they tried to flee the city by boat.

Thursday's arrests add to fears about the shrinking space for dissent in Hong Kong since Beijing imposed a national security law last year.

Security officials have said law enforcement is based on evidence and has nothing to do with an individual's political stance, background or profession.