Hong Kong police have used recently passed national security laws for the first time, arresting five editors and executives of a pro-democracy newspaper on charges of collusion with foreign powers.
Apple Daily confirmed that 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 had all been arrested.
John Lee, Secretary for Security for Hong Kong, said those arrested were using “journalistic work as a tool to endanger national security.”
“Normal journalists are different from these people,” he added. “Please keep a distance from them.”
Police claim that articles published by Apple Daily were part of a larger conspiracy with foreign countries, in order to impose sanctions against China and Hong Kong.
The publication has often been critical of the Chinese and Hong Kong governments for what it sees as broken promises following the transfer of power over the island from Britain in 1997.
This is not the first time Apple Daily have been raided by the police. The newspaper’s offices were also the target of a huge raid in August 2020, when some 200 officers took over the building and denied access to employees.
The latest police raid appears to confirm the fears of those opposed to the controversial national security laws, that they would be used to silence media criticism.