More than 200 Hong Kong police officers on Thursday raided the newsroom of Apple Daily under a sweeping national security law, to arrest five editors and executives of the pro-democracy newspaper on charges of colluding with foreign entities.
The raid marks the first time the law has been used against the press – in another indication of the intensifying crackdown on Hong Kong residents and now institutions that speak out against the Chinese government, according to the Associated Press.
Police said they had evidence that more than 30 articles published by Apple Daily played a “crucial part” in what they called a conspiracy with foreign countries to impose sanctions against China and Hong Kong, the wire service also reports.
The newspaper is vowed to continue its reporting.
Apple Daily has been among the most outspoken defenders of Hong Kong’s freedoms and has criticized the Chinese and Hong Kong governments for not fulfilling promises that the territory could retain those freedoms for 50 years, after the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997, according to the Associated Press.
Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai is serving a 20-month prison sentence after being convicted of playing a role in unauthorized protests in 2019, when Hong Kong residents held massive antigovernment demonstrations in response to a proposed extradition law that would have allowed suspects to stand trial in China.
Those arrested Thursday included Apple Daily’s chief editor Ryan Law; the CEO of its publisher Next Digital, Cheung Kim-hung; the publisher’s chief operating officer; and two other top editors, the newspaper told the wire service.
Police reportedly also froze 18 million Hong Kong dollars ($2.3 million) in assets belonging to three companies linked to Apple Daily, said Li Kwai-wah, a senior superintendent at Hong Kong’s National Security Department.
DW News provided this video: