Beijing, Jun 17 (EFE).- The Hong Kong police arrested the chief editor of the Apple Daily newspaper Thursday along with four other top executives for alleged conspiracy to collude with foreign forces, a crime under the national security law that China imposed on the former British colony.
Among those arrested are CEO Cheung Kim-hung, COO Royston Chow, Chief Editor Ryan Law, Associate Publisher Chan Pui-man and Platform Director of Apple Daily Digital Cheung Chi-wai, the newspaper said on its website.
Hundreds of police officials raided the headquarters of the daily on Thursday morning, blocking all entrances.
Staff members were not allowed to access any area barring the canteen and reporters were not allowed to return to their desks or film the raid, Apple Daily said.
The detainees have been accused of violating Article 29 of the law, which prohibits “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security,” the daily added.
Apple Daily was founded by media tycoon and staunch Beijing critic Jimmy Lai, who is currently in prison for his role in anti-government protests held in the city in 2019.
Lai was sentenced to 14 months in prison in April for organizing and taking part in two unauthorized protests in 2019.
He has also been charged with colluding with foreign forces and with conspiracy to obstruct the course of justice under the security law.
Born in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, Lai started his fortune in the textile industry and later entered the media sector and founded the Apple Daily, known for its critical positions on Beijing and support of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
When he was indicted earlier this year for his participation in the 2019 protest rallies in the city, official Chinese media called him “the mind in the shadow of the unrest.”
The national security law establishes penalties of life imprisonment for the crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism or “conspiring with foreign forces.”
The legislation has been strongly criticized by the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, which considers that the regulations will make it possible to punish dissidents and reduce the autonomy and freedoms of the territory. EFE