Beijing, Jul 22 (EFE).- Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Court on Thursday denied bail to four former senior executives of the now-closed pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily who have been charged with violating the national security law, public broadcaster RTHK reported.
They include associate publisher Chan Pui-man, editorial writer and head of the paper’s English news section, Fung Wai-kong, executive chief director Lam Man-chung — who was arrested on Wednesday, and editorial writer Yeung Ching-kei, all of whom have been accused of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces by allegedly seeking sanctions against Hong Kong and China.
The national security law establishes penalties of up to life imprisonment for the crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism or “conspiring with foreign forces.”
The events for which they are being prosecuted occurred between July 2020 and April 2021, according to RTHK.
Judge Victor So, who is in charge of national security cases, denied the request for bail by the defense and argued that there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest that the defendants “will not commit further acts endangering national security.”
The case was adjourned until Sep. 30.
On June 17, the Hong Kong Police unit created to enforce the national security law raided the Apple Daily’s headquarters and arrested five executives.
Police cited more than 30 published articles as evidence of their allegations of conspiracy to encourage international sanctions on the governments of Beijing and Hong Kong.
Later, the security forces detained two other senior officials from the newspaper, one of them at the Hong Kong airport when he was trying to catch a flight to the United Kingdom.
The police also froze HK$18 million ($2.32 million) in assets of Apple Daily Limited, Apple Daily Printing Limited and Apple Daily Intellect Limited.
The resulting lack of funds caused the newspaper to close its doors 26 years after its founding and publishing its final edition on June 24.
Hong Kong courts also sentenced seven people to between 3.5 to 7 years in prison for their participation in the mob attack inside the Yuen Long subway station in July 2019, which left 45 injured, according to local media reports.
That attack targeted protesters returning from a protest during a wave of massive anti-government demonstrations in the streets of Hong Kong in the second half of 2019. EFE