Published: Fri, June 18, 2021
Science | By

Hong Kong police arrest 5 for suspected violation of national security law

Hong Kong police arrest 5 for suspected violation of national security law

The ambiguity of the national security law and how it defines collusion has been criticised by journalist associations in Hong Kong. It prohibits "separatism, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference" in Hong Kong.

The National Security Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) police on Thursday arrested five directors of a company for suspected contravention of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (national security law), police said in a statement.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said the raid was aimed at silencing dissent.

Over 500 police officers were deployed in the operation, starting from 6 a.m., Li said.

Among those arrested were Apple Daily's chief editor, Ryan Law, and Cheung Kim-hung, the chief executive of its publisher, Next Digital.

Police said five executives were arrested "for collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security".

Apple Daily is known for its strong pro-democracy stance and often criticizes and condemns the Chinese and Hong Kong governments for tightening control over the city.

In April, the pro-government paper Ta Kung Pao, owned by Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong, published an op-ed calling for Apple Daily to be banned outright under the security law for publishing an article on a outdoor ad in London featuring slogans deemed subversive by Hong Kong government.

But this is the first time police have "cited media articles as potentially violating the national security law", Reuters notes.

The paper said computer terminals, hard drives and reporter notepads were among items carted away. But it promised to continue its reporting.

Hong Kong Security Minister John Lee told a news conference that police will investigate those arrested and others to establish if they have assisted in instigating or funding the offenses.

Police officers gather at the lobby of headquarters of Apple Daily in Hong Kong. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), meanwhile, called for the release of the arrested executives, as well the release of Jimmy Lai, the founder of the outlet, who is now in prison awaiting trial in a separate national security trial.

The paper has always been a thorn in Beijing's side and has unapologetically supported the financial hub's pro-democracy movement.

Stand News, a pro-democracy online media outlet, published pictures showing police had smashed down the house door of Chan Pui-man - Law's deputy. The law has been used to arrest over 100 pro-democracy activists since it was first implemented in June past year, and had virtually silenced opposition voices in the city, with many others fleeing overseas.

It essentially reduced Hong Kong's judicial autonomy and made it easier to punish demonstrators.

China says the law was needed to return stability to the financial hub.

This is supposed to protect certain freedoms for Hong Kong: freedom of assembly and speech, an independent judiciary and some democratic rights - freedoms that no other part of mainland China has.

Since the law was enacted in June, more than 100 people have been arrested under its provisions, including Lai.

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