Expats say they feel insecure about living somewhere ‘where the walls have ears’

• Australia’s Hong Kong intervention was hardly strident but that didn’t matter to China

Australian expats in Hong Kong are feeling jittery about their future after Beijing imposed a new national security law that could lead to foreigners being arbitrarily detained. They say the move has hastened their plans to leave the financial hub amid calls from their government for its citizens to “reconsider” their need to stay there.

The national security law passed in Beijing and enacted in Hong Kong on 1 July punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. It applies to permanent residents and non-residents in Hong Kong who breach the law in the territory, along with anyone accused of violating the law regardless of their nationality and where the alleged crime took place – so foreigners could be arrested on arrival in Hong Kong. National security cases can also be sent to Chinese courts for trial.

Related: Australia's Hong Kong intervention was hardly strident but that didn't matter to China

Related: 'We cried a lot': Hong Kong family torn apart as protester seeks asylum in Australia

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