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 had been frozen.
Executive Editor-in-Chief Lam Man-chung was the eighth govt 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 underneath its management.
Lam was arrested Wednesday, in response to 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and editorial writers Fung Wai-kong and Yeung Ching-kee had been additionally detained Wednesday after their bail was revoked, native media reported.
All 4 had been charged with conspiring to (*4*) underneath town’s year-old nationwide safety legislation. 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 had 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 concern attributable to 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 for the reason that 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 underneath town’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, might endanger nationwide safety.
“Freedom of the press and the freedom to publish are important cornerstones for the success of an international city,” it mentioned in an announcement on its Facebook web page.
In June, police raided the Apple Daily’s places of work, taking away exhausting 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 value of property, led it to stop its operations final month. It offered one million copies of its last version.
Following months of anti-government protests in 2019, Beijing final 12 months imposed a sweeping nationwide safety legislation within the semi-autonomous metropolis that critics say restricts freedoms promised to the previous British colony that aren’t discovered on mainland China.
The legislation criminalises secessionism, subversion, terrorism and overseas collusion to intervene within the metropolis’s affairs. Since it was applied in June final 12 months, greater than 100 pro-democracy supporters have been arrested underneath the legislation, and lots of others have fled overseas.