Hong Kong police arrested five people Thursday, on suspicion of conspiring to publish "seditious material" with the intent of inciting public hatred towards the Chinese-ruled city's government among children.
Those arrested were members of a speech therapists' union who produced books for children with wolves and sheep as characters in stories, Steve Li, a senior superintendent of the national security department, told a news conference Thursday.
They were arrested under a colonial-era law targeting sedition, which had been rarely used before the anti-government protests began in the former British colony.
"They are using children's cartoons to simplify and beautify illegal behavior on political issues," he said. "For example, the evil acts of thugs during the 2019 protests and painting the 12 Hong Kong fugitives as heroes. They are poisoning our children."
The arrests were the latest involving suspected critics of Hong Kong's government that have raised fears about the shrinking space for dissent since Beijing's imposition of a sweeping national security law in June last year to put an end to the pro-democracy protests.