Hong Kong police on June 17 arrested four senior executives and the chief editor of pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper for violating the national security law. The five executives got arrested on suspicion of conspiracy with a foreign country for endangering national security. Around 500 policemen raided the Apple Daily paper offices and blocked all the entrances as well as exists in the June 17 morning. This situation froze 18m HK dollars of assets that were owned by three companies associated with Apple Daily.
The paper is actually owned by Jimmy Lai, who is imprisoned on the basis of several charges. Apple Daily has always remained critical of the Chinese Leadership of the mainland. The police said in a press briefing that Apple Daily published over 30 articles since 2019 calling on countries for the imposition of sanctions on Hong Kong and China. The officials further added that all the Apple Daily Printing Limited, Apple Daily Limited, and AD internet Limited assets had been frozen.
Several prominent activists got arrested since the 2020 national security law was introduced. Apple Daily broadcasted the live footage of the raid on the Facebook account. The Police officials said that they had conducted a search operation by providing the warrant where the power of searching and journalistic materials seizure was given to the police. The photos presented online by the company show the way police were going through the computers of the reporters.
The police visited the houses of the chief editor Ryan Law, the CEO of Next Digital Cheung Kim-hung, Apple Daily publisher Chan Pui-man, Director Cheung Chi-wai, COO Chow Tat-kuen, and arrested all of them. This is the second raid in a year that took place in Apple Daily. In the last August raid, 10 people were arrested, including Jimmy Lai and his sons.
More Information about the National Security Law
The national security law was introduced in the year 2020 after the massive pro-democracy protest that swept away the city-state. It was a response to the protest. The law basically decreased the power of the judicial autonomy of Hong Kong and made it much easier to punish the demonstrators. It criminalizes subversion, collusion, and secession with any foreign forces and can provide the maximum life sentence in prison. However, the critics told the law violates the agreement that Britishers made while giving Hong Kong back to China in 1997.