The editor-in-chief and four other executives of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily were arrested on Thursday, on suspicion of violating the national security law.
Apple Daily, which is known to be critical of Beijing’s leadership, is owned by media mogul Jimmy Lai, who was jailed on a string of charges related to taking part in unauthorised assemblies in 2019. His holdings in the company have been frozen on national security grounds.
According to a South China Morning Post report, dozens of police entered Apple Daily’s offices in Tseung Kwan O for the second time in a year to execute a warrant early on Thursday.
Police said the warrant covered “the power of searching and seizure of journalistic materials”.
Reports say more than 200 police entered Apple Daily’s premises around 7am local time. A live stream of the raid on Apple Daily’s social media showed large numbers of officers entering the building, while others used cones to block part of the road outside.
National security police also visited the homes of editor-in-chief Ryan Law, parent company Next Digital’s CEO Cheung Kim-hung, COO Chow Tat-kuen, Apple Daily publisher Chan Pui-man and Director Cheung Chi-wai, and arrested them.
Police did not name those arrested but confirmed that the five people, aged between 47 and 63, were arrested for “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”.
This is the second raid to take place in Apple Daily in under a year – a raid last August saw 10 people arrested including Lai and his sons.
Next Digital announced the suspension of trading in its shares ahead of the market opening on Thursday.
At 9am Thursday, Apple Daily’s website was still live and online.