By Chioma Iruke
Hong Kong Police has arrested the Editor-In-Chief and four other Directors of the Apple Daily Newspaper over their role in the publication of dozens of articles alleged to be part of a conspiracy to collude with foreign forces.
The arrest was carried out after a raid in the early hours of Thursday morning by Hong Kong’s national security police, accusing those arrested of using journalism of endangering national security.
The police force’s national security department said the five had been arrested on suspicion of collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security, through articles which police said called for sanctions to be imposed on Hong Kong and mainland China. All were arrested at their homes, at around 7am.
Police also searched Apple Daily’s newsroom and its offices, saying the warrant covered “the power of searching and seizure of journalistic materials”. “The operation, still ongoing, aims at gathering evidence for a case of suspected contravention of the national security law,” it said.
The city’s Security Chief, John Lee, accused those arrested of using “journalistic work as a tool to endanger national security”, and issued a chilling warning to residents and other media.
“Normal journalists are different from these people. Please keep a distance from them,” Lee said.
Those arrested were named by Apple Daily as editor-in-chief, Ryan Law; the chief executive officer, Cheung Kim-hung; the chief operating officer, Chow Tat-kuen; the deputy chief editor, Chan Puiman; and the chief executive editor, Cheung Chi-wai.
Police also froze HK$18m (US $2.3m) in assets of three companies, Apple Daily Limited, Apple Daily Printing Limited and AD Internet Limited. Parent company, Next Digital, announced the suspension of trading in its shares before markets opened on Thursday.