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Two Apple Daily executives charged with collusion with foreign country

Stock MarketsJun 18, 2021 11:53AM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. An employee walks at the offices of Apple Daily and Next Media after police raided the newsroom, in Hong Kong, China June 17, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik 2/3

By Jessie Pang and Sara Cheng

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Hong Kong police charged the chief editor and chief executive of pro-democracy tabloid Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Daily on Friday with collusion with a foreign country, a national security case that has sent chills through the city's media.

Some 500 police raided the media outlet on Thursday and five Apple Daily executives were arrested on suspicion that dozens of its articles violated Hong Kong's new security law.

Police said they charged two of the five on Friday, identified by Apple Daily as editor-in-chief Ryan Law and chief executive officer Cheung Kim-hung.

The other three, Chief Operating Officer Chow Tat-kuen, Deputy Chief Editor Chan Puiman and Chief Executive Editor Cheung Chi-wai, were released on bail late on Friday, according to Apple Daily.

The exact terms of their bail were not immediately known, but it appeared the three had not been charged.

"I know that there are still two other colleagues who cannot come out yet. They are being charged under the national security law. I am very upset. I hope they can be bailed out soon," Chan said as she left the police station.

"I know the company and Apple Daily colleagues continue to uphold their duty professionally, continue to report the news. I am proud of them. I am very touched. We will try our best."

Earlier, police also said they would prosecute three companies related to Apple Daily for the same offence after freezing HK$18 million ($2.32 million) of their assets.

The arrests have raised further alarm over media freedom in Hong Kong and have been criticised by Western governments and international rights groups and press associations.

The chief U.N. human rights spokesperson, Rupert Colville, said on Friday the raid "sends a further chilling message for media freedom".

The national security law imposed by Beijing in 2020 on the former British colony has brought an authoritarian tone to most aspects of life in Hong Kong, including education and arts.

It was the first case in which authorities have cited media articles as potentially violating the security law, which was imposed after almost a year of mass pro-democracy protests. Beijing says the law was necessary to bring stability to the city after the sometimes violent unrest.

Democracy supporters flocked to buy copies of Apple Daily on Friday to protest against the raid.

The popular 26-year-old paper, which combines liberal discourse with celebrity gossip and investigations of those in power, increased its Friday press run to 500,000 copies, up from 80,000 the previous day.

'HANG IN THERE'

In the Mong Kok district, queues formed at some kiosks at midnight, with some customers carting off hundreds of first editions on trolleys and suitcases.

"You never know when this newspaper will die," said one reader who only gave his last name, Tsang, because of the sensitivity of the matter. "As Hong Kongers, we need to preserve the history. Hang in there as long as we can. Although the road is rough, we still need to walk it, as there's no other road."

By the morning, some newsstands in central Hong Kong had already sold out.

Tam, a 40-year-old banker, said he had bought his first newspaper in 20 years after hearing about the raid.

"I don't mean to do anything with the newspaper in my hand. It's just for my conscience," he said.

It was the second time police had raided the newsroom after the arrest last August of media tycoon Jimmy Lai, a pro-democracy activist and staunch Beijing critic, who owns Next Digital, which publishes Apple Daily.

Lai's assets have since been frozen as he faces three charges under the security law. He is serving prison sentences for taking part in illegal assemblies.

Hong Kong officials have repeatedly said that media freedom and other rights will remain intact, but that national security is a red line.

China's Foreign Commissioner's Office said in a statement the national security law protected press freedom, while warning "external forces" to "keep their hands off Hong Kong".

Two Apple Daily executives charged with collusion with foreign country
 

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Comments (7)
Brian Walsh
Brian Walsh Jun 18, 2021 2:34PM ET
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The Marxist Biden Administration would love nothing more than to have all media be nothing more than a propaganda wing of their Marxist Ideology, they are more than half way there.
Klaus Weyers
Klaus Weyers Jun 18, 2021 6:37AM ET
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lets stop buying chinese goods
David David
David9 Jun 18, 2021 6:37AM ET
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If you stop buying then ease tell us what clothes will you wear? I will forego wearing your underwear also? Please let us know how you can survive without chinese goods...
Ur Daddy
Ur Daddy Jun 18, 2021 6:37AM ET
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your IPhone is made in china. smart arrs
Cesar Stange
Cesar Stange Jun 18, 2021 5:35AM ET
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National Security? what a low argument to use to shut up free press just because you do not like what it writes
David David
David9 Jun 18, 2021 5:35AM ET
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National security is very serious.... that is true everywhere...
Cesar Stange
Cesar Stange Jun 18, 2021 5:35AM ET
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National Security? what a low argument to use to shut up free press just because you do not like what it writes
dc Gpswill
dc Gpswill Jun 18, 2021 12:12AM ET
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human rights
dc Gpswill
dc Gpswill Jun 18, 2021 12:12AM ET
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Chinese communist party bunch of gangsters
David David
David9 Jun 18, 2021 12:12AM ET
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How? So when someone breaks the law, how can it be gangster... explain to us... we don't get it...
Cupido Cupido
Cupido Cupido Jun 18, 2021 12:12AM ET
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A law without definition?
David David
David9 Jun 18, 2021 12:12AM ET
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The law is spelled out clearly... one of it is colluding with a foreign force... I read the law and it looks very similar to any national security laws everywhere...
Jason Zou
Jason Zou Jun 17, 2021 11:19PM ET
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This tabloid is good for wrapping dog pupu.
Ad Cline
Ad Cline Jun 17, 2021 11:19PM ET
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so is jason zou
Jason Zou
Jason Zou Jun 17, 2021 11:19PM ET
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Ad Cline to feed you with it.
 
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