Apple Daily executives face nationwide safety cost in HK courtroom

000 9CK8YL

Two newspaper officers are charged with collusion with international powers, elevating alarm over media freedoms within the monetary hub.

Crowds gathered exterior a Hong Kong courtroom early on Saturday as two executives of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily face a cost underneath the town’s sweeping nationwide safety regulation, in a case that has drawn worldwide condemnation.

Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law, 47, and Chief Executive Cheung Kim-hung, 59, had been amongst 5 Apple Daily executives arrested on Thursday when 500 police raided the outlet’s newsroom, which authorities described as a “crime scene”.

The two arrived in a police van earlier than their listening to.

Both are charged with collusion with international powers, elevating alarm over media freedoms within the monetary hub as authorities intensify a crackdown underneath the contentious laws.

The different three, Chief Operating Officer Chow Tat-kuen, Deputy Chief Editor Chan Puiman and Chief Executive Editor Cheung Chi-wai, had been launched on bail late on Friday, in line with Apple Daily.

“I already left Apple Daily due to personal and safety reasons,” mentioned Chan, 37, a former Apple Daily reporter.

“I hope the two being charged can think about themselves first. They also have their families. I worked with them before. We are like friends.”

‘No fear, fight on’

The National Security Law imposed by Beijing in 2020 on the previous British colony has introduced an authoritarian tone to most points of life in Hong Kong, together with schooling and humanities.

It punishes what Beijing broadly refers to as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with international forces with as much as life in jail.

Police mentioned dozens of the newspaper’s articles had been suspected of violating the nationwide safety regulation – the primary time media articles have been cited as probably falling foul of the laws.

Crowds gathered at daybreak on Saturday exterior West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts, some holding yellow umbrellas or carrying Apple Daily T-shirts saying, “No fear, fight on.”

“Right now, you can be charged with NSL because of a word or a speech that they didn’t like. It’s a big regression,” Lo, 29, a reader of the favored, 26-year-old paper, mentioned.

The arrests and scale of the Apple Daily raid have been criticised by Western nations, international rights teams, press associations and the chief UN spokesperson for human rights.

Apple Daily and its listed writer Next Digital have come underneath growing strain since their proprietor, pro-democracy activist and staunch Beijing critic Jimmy Lai, was arrested final yr underneath the laws.

Lai, whose property have been frozen underneath the safety regulation, is already in jail for collaborating in unauthorised assemblies and awaiting trial in his nationwide safety case.

As investigations into Apple Daily and its senior executives ramp up, some staff and observers have expressed deepening concern in regards to the newspaper’s future.

Since the regulation was imposed by Beijing in June final yr, greater than 100 individuals have been arrested, with most denied bail.