The editor-in-chief of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily pro-democracy newspaper and the head of his parents’ company were brought to court on Saturday for the first time since their arrest under the city’s security law.
Ryan Law, chief editor, and Cheung Kim-hung, manager of Next Digital, arrived in an unmarked white van with tinted windows. They have been accused of collaborating with another country to jeopardize the security of the country in a case known as the attack on media freedom in the Chinese government.
Three others were re-arrested Thursday – two of Apple Daily’s top editors and another manager – who have not yet been charged and released on bail late Friday as the investigation continues.
Apple Daily has long been one of Hong Kong’s leading advocates for civil liberties. It has supported mass protests demanding more democracy in 2019 and has criticized the subsequent campaign, including the suspension of national security legislation last year.
The central government in Beijing has defended the law and fought against dissenting voices where necessary to restore stability and stability. The 2019 protests that challenged the Beijing government often began as a peaceful march during the day but turned into a violent confrontation between hardworking protesters and police at night.
Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence after being found guilty of playing a role in unauthorized meetings – rallies and marches without police approval – during the 2019 protests. He was also charged under national security law.
The latest arrests are the first time journalists have been targeted under a new law, with the exception of a private businessman arrested for democratic activities. Hundreds of police and security officials raided the Apple Daily office on Thursday and confiscated 44 hard drives, and authorities suspended $ 2.3 million worth of assets.
Police said the arrests were based on more than 30 news reports from Apple Daily since the implementation of the security law, which prompted international sanctions against China and Hong Kong.
Security law makes it a criminal offense to co-operate with a foreign country, institution, organization or individual to impose sanctions or sanctions on Hong Kong or China. Critics say Beijing is backtracking on its promise to give Hong Kong in 1997 from Britain that the city could retain its unseen freedom elsewhere in China for 50 years.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials over the arrest and called for the immediate release of Apple Daily’s organizers and management.
Asked how journalists should avoid getting into trouble, Hong Kong Secretary of Security John Lee told a news conference this week that “the answer is simple: Do your journalism as freely as you can according to the law if you are not conspiring or not with intent to violate Hong Kong law and not Hong Kong National Security Act. Kong. ”