Hong Kong police arrested the editor-in-chief and four other executives of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily on Thursday, on suspicion of violating the national security law.
Apple Daily is owned by media mogul Jimmy Lai, who was also arrested and jailed on a string of charges. The paper is known to be critical of Beijing’s leadership.
Dozens of prominent activists have been arrested since the national security law was introduced last year.
The law essentially reduced Hong Kong’s judicial autonomy and made it easier to punish demonstrators. It criminalises secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces with the maximum sentence life in prison.
Beijing said the law would target “sedition” and bring stability, but critics have said it violates the agreement under which Britain handed back Hong Kong to China in 1997.
RAID BROADCASTED LIVE
Police entered the Apple Daily office premises at around 07:30 local time on Thursday and blocked off all entrances and exits,
The paper broadcasted live footage of the raid on its Facebook account.
Police said in a statement that they conducted a search operation at a media company, adding that their warrant “covered the power of searching and seizure of journalistic materials”.
The police separately visited the homes of editor-in-chief Ryan Law, parent company Next Digital’s CEO Cheung Kim-hung, COO Chow Tat-kuen, Apple Daily publisher Chan Pui-man and Director Cheung Chi-wai, and arrested them.
Police did not name those arrested but confirmed that the five people, aged between 47 and 63, were arrested for “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”.
This is the second raid to take place in Apple Daily in under a year, a raid in August last year saw 10 people arrested including Lai and his sons.