500 Hong Kong police officers raided the office of Apple Daily, a newspaper known for its critical coverage of China and Hong Kong, on Thursday morning. Five senior executives, including the editor-in-chief, Ryan Law, have been arrested. Some 500 police officers took part in the raid and blocked all entrances to the office. Journalists were barred from filming the raid.
The Hong Kong government said in a statement Thursday that the National Security Department had arrested the five directors of a company on suspicion of collusion with a foreign country. After the arrests, Hong Kong Security Secretary John Lee said the raid targeted individuals who use reporting as a tool to harm national security. He added it is up to Apple Daily whether the outlet will continue operations.
It was the first time Hong Kong authorities said media reports may have breached the national security law Beijing introduced last year. Curiously, police said some of the dozens of reports concerned were published in 2019 which would pre-date the national security law.
The publisher of Apple Daily, Jimmy Lai, was arrested last year under the same law. Lai is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence for his role in unauthorized assemblies during mass pro-democracy protests of 2019. Last month, authorities froze Lai's assets and shares in Next Digital.
Apple Daily has backed Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, including the massive and sometimes violent protests that swept the international financial hub in 2019.
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