Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

HK's Apple Daily raided by 500 officers over national security law

Stock MarketsJun 17, 2021 04:02PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Copies of Next Digital's Apple Daily newspapers are seen at a newsstand in Hong Kong, China May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik 2/2

By Sara Cheng and Sharon Abratique

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Five hundred Hong Kong police officers sifted through reporters' computers and notebooks at pro-democracy tabloid Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Daily on Thursday, the first case in which authorities have cited media articles as potentially violating the national security law.

Around dawn, police arrested five executives of the newspaper, and officers were later seen sitting at computers in the newsroom after entering with a warrant to seize journalistic materials, including from reporters' phones and laptops.

The raid is the latest blow to media tycoon Jimmy Lai, the tabloid's owner and a staunch Beijing critic, whose assets have been frozen under the security law and who is serving prison sentences for taking part in illegal assemblies.

The raid drew condemnation from the United States and Europe.

The European Union and Britain said it showed China was using the national security law to crack down on dissent and silence the media rather than deal with public security.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was "deeply concerned by Hong Kong authorities' selective use of the national security law to arbitrarily target independent media organizations."

"The charges of 'collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security' appear to be entirely politically motivated," he added.

In comments raising further alarm over media freedoms in Hong Kong, the territory's Security Secretary John Lee described the newsroom as a "crime scene" and said the operation was aimed at those who use reporting as a "tool to endanger" national security.

He did not elaborate on the dozens of articles at which police said they were taking aim, but said the five were arrested for a conspiracy to make "use of journalistic work" to incite foreign forces to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and China.

"Normal journalists are different from these people. Don't collude with them," he told reporters. "Do your journalistic work as freely as you like in accordance with the law, provided you do not conspire or have any intention to break ... the national security law."

Senior superintendent Li Kwai-wah said the tabloid's reports dated back to 2019, without saying when the most recent were published. The legislation is not retrospective but prosecutors can use actions from before its implementation as evidence.

Police have also frozen HK$18 million ($2.32 million) of assets owned by three companies linked to Apple Daily and said that the raid was not aimed at the media industry as a whole.

In a letter to readers, Apple Daily said it was the victim of a "targeted attack by the regime," but its staff "will continue to stick to their posts loyally and fight to the end."

It said police seized 38 computers used by reporters.

It was the second time national security police have raided the Apple Daily headquarters; 200 officers went in last year to arrest Lai on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces.

Lai has been in detention since December, denied bail under the security law and serving several sentences for taking part in unauthorised rallies, including during the global financial hub's mass pro-democracy protests in 2019.

The security law was Beijing's first major move to set China's most restive city on an authoritarian path. It punishes anything Beijing deems as subversion, secessionism, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

The five arrested were editor-in-chief Ryan Law, chief executive officer Cheung Kim-hung, Chief Operating Officer Chow Tat-kuen, Deputy Chief Editor Chan Puiman and Chief Executive Editor Cheung Chi-wai.

"This is a blatant attack on the editorial side of Apple Daily," Mark Simon, an adviser to Lai who is outside Hong Kong, told Reuters. "They're arresting the top editorial folks."

Asked how long he thinks the newspaper can survive, Simon said: "They decide, not us," referring to authorities.

'ORWELLIAN' LAW

Pictures published by Apple Daily showed police sitting at reporters' desks and using their computers. A person streaming a live feed for Apple Daily's Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) page said reporters were prevented from accessing certain floors or getting their equipment or notebooks.

Chief editor Law was seen walking in handcuffs, flanked by police officers. The paper's general news desk told reporters in a text message seen by Reuters to carry on with their assignments outside the building for the time being.

Authorities last month ordered the freezing of Lai's shares in Next Digital, publisher of the newspaper.

In May, Reuters reported that Hong Kong's security chief sent letters to Lai and branches of HSBC and Citibank threatening up to seven years in jail for any dealings with the billionaire's accounts in the city.

Apple Daily is an unapologetic tabloid founded 26 years ago that mixes pro-democracy discourse with celebrity gossip and investigations of those in power, and is popular in Hong Kong.

"The arrests ... under Hong Kong’s Orwellian National Security Law destroy any remaining fiction that Hong Kong supports freedom of the press," said Steven Butler, Committee to Protect Journalists' Asia program coordinator.

"China, which controls Hong Kong, may be able to eliminate the paper, which it sees as an annoying critic, but only at a steep price to be paid by the people of Hong Kong, who had enjoyed decades of free access to information," he added.

HK's Apple Daily raided by 500 officers over national security law
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (10)
Hung Pham
Hung Pham Jun 17, 2021 2:13AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Communist Chinese spent a lot if money to get VaChina Biden elected so they can do this kind of stuffs lol
David David
David9 Jun 17, 2021 2:13AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
How do you know?
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jun 17, 2021 2:11AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Those support r/a//p/i/s/ts. If u !or ur close ones! get r/a/p/ed, then u will see how the world collapse.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jun 17, 2021 2:03AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Julian is a r/a/p/i/s.t.
Sean Livingstone
Sean Livingstone Jun 17, 2021 1:28AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
And why is the west complaining about China targeting Jimmy Lai when we jail Julian Assange?
Jason Zou
Jason Zou Jun 17, 2021 1:04AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Apple Daily is an anti-China propaganda agency, implementing the someones’agenda to separate Hongkong from China.
Hung Pham
Hung Pham Jun 17, 2021 1:04AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Haha a Chinese troll. Cant wait for Trump to come back
Jo Pa
Jo Pa Jun 17, 2021 12:25AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
The US media is calling for and supporting censorship of their political opposition. Notice how the US media never dares to criticize Biden.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jun 16, 2021 11:19PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
In a communist country, nobody dares to say the opposite. If u do, consider lucky if they jail u.
David David
David9 Jun 16, 2021 11:19PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
How do you know? Where did you get your facts...please don't tell me it is from FoxNews, CNN, or BBC... lol
David David
David9 Jun 16, 2021 10:47PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Jimmy Lai was not good... he violated a lot of the new security law...
C S Lim
C S Lim Jun 16, 2021 10:47PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
He asked for it.
Venkat Prasad
Venkat Prasad Jun 16, 2021 10:32PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
What has (NASDAQ:AAPL) to do with this news?
Erski Gumby
SB20 Jun 16, 2021 10:23PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Not surprised. I feel bad for HK. If antifa in the US really care about facism, they should all go to HK and fight with our brothers there.
Paul Browning
Paul Browning Jun 16, 2021 10:23PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Antifa, as its name suggests, is against fascism. HK's enemy is communist China. I don't understand your point.
David David
David9 Jun 16, 2021 10:23PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
SB20 Why do you feel bad? So you rather see the rioters hurting and ********people, and causing destruction in public? That's what was happening before. Now Hong Kong is calm with laws and orders...
Jo Pa
Jo Pa Jun 16, 2021 10:23PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Look up 'Antifa violence' on YouTube.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email