Hong Kong police arrest Apple Daily editor, administrators, raid HQ

Police accuse 5 of ‘collusion with foreign forces’ in newest wave of arrests below National Security Law, with dozens of officers despatched to media group’s headquarters.

Hong Kong Police arrested the editor in chief of the Apple Daily, the media group based by jailed pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai, and 4 different administrators, for alleged nationwide safety offences in a sequence of early morning raids on Thursday, as a whole bunch of law enforcement officials blocked entry to the media group’s Hong Kong headquarters.

Apple Daily confirmed Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law, Chief Executive Officer Cheung Kim-hung, Chief Operating Officer Chow Tat-kuen, Deputy Chief Editor Chan Puiman and Chief Executive Editor Cheung Chi-wai had been arrested.

Police stated the 5 are accused of “colluding with foreign forces”, which is an offence below the National Security Law that China opposed on the territory nearly a 12 months in the past.

Senior Superintendent Li Kwai-wah informed a media convention outdoors the corporate’s headquarters that the offences had been dedicated in “over 30 pieces of articles” that had allegedly requested international governments impose sanctions on Hong Kong and China. He stated the 5 administrators had “played a very, very important role” of their publication.

Lai based Apple Daily in 1995 after making his fortune in trend retailing, however the feisty pro-democracy newspaper has come below rising stress for the reason that National Security Law got here into drive. Its headquarters had been first raided when the now-jailed Lai was arrested final August, and in May authorities used the safety regulation to impose a freeze on Lai’s property.

Local media stated police arrived on the constructing at about 7am (23:00 GMT on Wednesday) with warrants to go looking the premises in addition to to grab “journalistic materials”.

Cheung Kim Hung (centre),the CEO and Executive Director of Next Digital, is escorted by police into the Apple Daily newspaper places of work in Hong Kong following his arrest on June 17 [Anthony Wallace/AFP]

Li stated 500 officers had been concerned within the search of the constructing and that police had needed to “look into the computers to get the evidence”.

Entrances and exits to the compound had been blocked off and the police drive’s official Facebook web page confirmed a livestream of occasions with journalists gathered outdoors.

“Police are conducting law enforcement operations in the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Area,” it stated.

Apple Daily was additionally livestreaming the raid though it stated that every one staff arriving on the workplace had been required to register private knowledge akin to ID playing cards, workers playing cards, phone numbers and addresses with the police and had been solely allowed into the canteen. Reporters had been “prevent(ed) from returning to work,” the media group stated on its Facebook web page.

China imposed the National Security Law nearly a 12 months in the past, after the semi-autonomous metropolis was rocked by months of typically violent protests in 2019.

The broadly worded regulation criminalises acts akin to subversion, sedition, collusion with international forces and secession with doable life imprisonment, however critics have stated it’s getting used to suppress authentic political debate with dozens of pro-democracy politicians and activists arrested.

The police cordoned off the Apple Daily HQ as they looked for proof of alleged “collusion with foreign powers” [Anthony Wallace/AFP]

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