HONG KONG, June 17 (Hfrance.fr) - Five hundred Hong Kong police officers sifted through the computers and notebooks of tabloi journalistspro-democracy Apple Daily on Thursday, the first case in which authorities cited press articles as potentially violating national security law.
Dawn, police arrested five newspaper executives, and officers were later seen sitting at computers in the newsroom after entering with a warrant to seize journalistic material.
The raid is the latest blow to media mogul Jimmy Lai, the owner of the tabloid and a staunch critic of Beijing, whose property was seized under the security law and who is purging prison terms for participating in illegal gatherings.
Police said the warrant was to collect evidence, including from phones and computers of journalists, to warn about media freedoms.
He said the tabloid publishedThere are dozens of reports dating back to 2019 that may have violated the security law, without specifying the date of the most recent articles in question. The legislation is not retrospective but prosecutors can use actions prior to its implementation as evidence.
"The nature of the articles is very simple: incitement, country to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China. Very simple "Chief Superintendent Li Kwai-wah told reporters outside the newspaper's headquarters.
Li said police also froze HK $ 18 million ($ 2.32 million) in assets held by three companies linked to Apple Daily and that the raid was not aimed at not the media industry as a whole.
"This is a blatant attack by the editorial staff of 'Apple Daily ", Mark Simon, an advisor, told Hfrance.friller de Lai which is outside of Hong Kong. "They 'arrest the best editors.
This was the second time that police raided Apple Daily headquarters ; 200 officers went last year to arrest Lai on suspicion of collusion with foreign forces.
Lai has been in detention since December, saw himself deny bail under security law and serving multiple sentences for participating in unauthorized rallies, including mass pro-democracy protests in the global financial hub in 2019.
The security law was Beijing's first major move to put China's most turbulent city on an authoritarian path. It punishes everything that Beijing considers to be subversion, secessionism, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.ngers to life imprisonment.
National security police said in a statement that five directors of a company had been arrested for suspected collusion with a foreign country or with external elements. Hong K ong police do not name those arrested.
Apple Daily editor-in-chief Ryan Law, general manager Cheung Kim-hung, said on COO Chow Tat-Kuen, Deputy Editor Chan Puiman and Editor-in-Chief Cheung Chi-wai had all been arrested during morning raids.
Photos released by Apple Daily showed police officers sitting at reporters' desks and using their computers. A person broadcasting a live feed for the Apple Daily Facebook page said journalists were prevented from accessing certain floors or obtaining their equipment or computers.laptops.
Editor-in-chief Law was seen walking in handcuffs, flanked by police officers. The general news office of the Apple Daily newspaper told reporters in a text message seen by Hfrance.fr to continue their missions outside the building for the time being.
This move is the latest blow for Apple Daily after authorities last month were disastrous Jailed tycoon Lai's shares in Next Digital (0282 .HK) , journal editor, to freeze.
When he thinks the newspaper can survive, Simon replied: "It's not ours. It's theirs. It 's theirs. There are 100 police officers in our newsroom. They decide, not us. "
Apple Daily is a shameless tabloid that mixes pro speech-democracy, celebrity gossip and surveys of those in power. It is popular in Hong Kong.
In May, Hfrance.fr reported that the Hong Kong security chief sent letters to Lai and branches of HSBC and Citibank, threatening up to seven years in prison for any dealings with the billionaire's accounts in the city.
Lai's assets were also frozen under the same law. Tony Munroe's report; Edited by Jacqueline Wong
Our standards: Thomson Hfrance.fr's principles of trust.