Hong Kong’s security police have raided democratically charged offices and arrested six people, including senior journalists, and increased the risk of journalists and protesters in the city.
More than 200 police officers arrived Wednesday morning at the offices of Stand News, an independent website known for its high-profile government coverage. Existing and former officials have been arrested on suspicion of “spreading propaganda” according to British colonial rule, according to police.
The men were Chung Pui-kuen, a former senior editor who resigned last month, and Patrick Lam, the acting editor, according to a man familiar with the matter and local journalists.
The attack came six months after Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper, reported forced closure while government officials suspended his property and arrested several senior journalists. Jimmy Layi, founder of the company who are in prison in connection with various cases, and six former Apple Daily employees were also charged with publishing terrorists Tuesday.
Many critics have taken action fled the city or arrests after Beijing enacted a major national security law that went into effect last year following the democratic protests that devastated the city in 2019.
Many famous journalists imprisoned in the last two years, and foreign journalists have been denied visas to work in the region.
Critics say the latest developments threaten the freedom of the press in the city, though Beijing pledged to protect journalists and free speech for 50 years following Hong Kong’s extradition from Britain to China in 1997.
“The arrests, which take place before the new year, have sent a strong signal,” said Grace Leung, a lecturer at China University of Hong Kong, who works in communications and policy management.
“More [extends the] to cool. . . and many [journalists] “I’ve been disappointed in the past,” he added.
According to police sources, the police used a search warrant in accordance with the country’s security law which allowed them to search and seize journalists’ weapons during security hours.
Ronson Chan, editor-in-chief of Stand News and chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, was taken by police to his home, according to a newspaper article. The report did not say whether he was arrested.
Chris Tang, the city’s security secretary, criticized Stand News this month, calling the government’s media “biased, deceptive and demonic”.
Stand News was elected this year to receive the Freedom of Press Freedom Award presented by Reporters Without Borders, a Paris journalistic rights group announced last month.
The RSF warned in a recent report that Hong Kong had “fallen apart” under national security law, with officials deciding to enact a “false” law that many are concerned about could prevent serious reports.