Hong Kong police charged two high editors and two editorial writers at Apple Daily with collusion weeks after town’s largest pro-democracy newspaper was pressured to stop publication and its property have been frozen.
Executive Editor-in-Chief Lam Man-chung was the eighth government or journalist at the shuttered newspaper arrested in latest weeks as metropolis authorities crackdown on dissent and China’s central authorities brings the semi-autonomous territory extra beneath its management.
Lam was arrested Wednesday, in line with the South China Morning Post newspaper, which cited an unnamed supply. Associate Publisher and Deputy Chief Editor Chan Pui-man and editorial writers Fung Wai-kong and Yeung Ching-kee have been additionally detained Wednesday after their bail was revoked, native media reported.
All 4 have been charged with conspiring to “collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” beneath town’s year-old nationwide safety regulation. Police confirmed 4 folks, aged between 51 and 57, had been charged however didn’t establish them.
They will seem in courtroom Thursday.
Chan was amongst 5 Apple Daily executives and editors arrested on June 17, whereas Yeung and Fung have been arrested days later. Fung was arrested at the airport whereas allegedly making an attempt to go away to the United Kingdom.
Hong Kong safety minister Chris Tang denied that the arrests would set off a “white terror” – a time period referring to a local weather of worry brought on by political repression – amongst journalists.
“Whoever committed an offence will be arrested, disregarding their background, whatever they do, or what are their professions,” he mentioned.
“It doesn’t really matter. If they committed an offence, they will be arrested. And if there is any evidence, they will be prosecuted.”
The Hong Kong Journalists Association criticised the “repeated targeting of journalists” from Apple Daily, stating that it was “shocked and puzzled” by the arrest of Lam because the newspaper had already ceased operations.
The affiliation additionally requested the federal government to clarify how information and publishing work which has been legally carried out and is protected beneath town’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, might endanger nationwide safety.
(*4*) it mentioned in a press release on its Facebook web page.
In June, police raided the Apple Daily’s workplaces, taking away laborious drives and laptops as proof. The arrests of high executives, editors and journalists at the paper, in addition to the freezing of USD 2.3 million price of property, led it to stop its operations final month. It offered one million copies of its ultimate version.
Following months of anti-government protests in 2019, Beijing final 12 months imposed a sweeping nationwide safety regulation within the semi-autonomous metropolis that critics say restricts freedoms promised to the previous British colony that aren’t discovered on mainland China.
The regulation criminalises secessionism, subversion, terrorism and international collusion to intervene within the metropolis’s affairs. Since it was carried out in June final 12 months, greater than 100 pro-democracy supporters have been arrested beneath the regulation, and plenty of others have fled overseas.