Two Hong Kong pro-democracy activists with a bounty on their head have said they do not feel safe living in exile in the UK and demanded a meeting with the Foreign Secretary.

Authorities in the former British territory have issued arrest warrants for Finn Lau and Christopher Mung, as well as six other activists who have fled to Britain, the US, Canada and Australia for alleged breaches of the harsh national security law imposed by Beijing.

Hong Kong’s leader, John Lee, has said they will be pursued for life, with one million Hong Kong dollars (£100,500) being offered for information leading to any of their arrests.

Mr Lau said he did not feel safe because of the bounty and the “threats” from the Chinese Communist Party.

He told the PA news agency: “The risk of abduction and physical harassment has escalated, skyrocketed in the last few days.”

He said he has previously been attacked in Britain and has been followed by people, calling the situation “dangerous”.

Mr Lau, 29, who founded the activist groups Hong Kong Liberty and Stand with Hong Kong, also said he has not been proactively contacted by UK police about his safety.

He demanded a meeting with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Home Secretary Suella Braverman, and that anyone attempting kidnap should face trial on British soil.

Previous requests for a meeting with the Home Office have gone unanswered, he suggested.

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists briefing – London
Finn Lau said Hong Kong authorities were frustrated that the UK and other nations have suspended extradition agreements with China (James Manning/PA)

While people who have come to the UK from Hong Kong are grateful for the BNO visa scheme, it should not be an excuse for the UK Government not to do more, Mr Lau said.

Mr Lau, the founder of activist groups Hong Kong Liberty and Stand with Hong Kong, said the Hong Kong authorities’ action is a “clear case of transnational oppression”.

He said that if Mr Cleverly’s planned visit to China goes ahead, he should set up conditions beforehand, including “guarantees” for Hong Kong human rights.

Both activists were defiant in the face of the arrest warrants.

Mr Mung, a trade union activist who fled to the UK in 2021, vowed to continue his work.

The leader of Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor said: “What the Chinese government is doing is to suppress freedom of speech and silence criticism of the government.”

Their intention is to “extend their hands overseas” and “spread fear outside of Hong Kong”, he told a press conference in Westminster.

“I don’t think they will succeed.

“They can never eliminate the voice of the Hong Kong people.”

Mr Mung, 51, told PA: “I don’t think the arrest warrant will change anything I’m doing. If I am afraid of this kind of intimidation, it will only encourage the Chinese government and Hong Kong government to… silence overseas activities.”

China on Tuesday urged Mr Cleverly to stop “interfering” after he vowed to defend the activists.

Hundreds of people have been arrested under the national security law, imposed in 2020 as part of a crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong.

But the rewards for information leading to the activists’ arrest are the first under the law.

The UK handed over the former British colony to China in 1997, with Beijing promising to maintain Western-style liberties under a “one country, two systems” framework.

Tensions between China and the West have been growing in recent years amid a crackdown in Hong Kong and aggression towards Taiwan.