Hong Kong: Police arrest journalists again

As of: 12/29/2021 7:18 a.m.

Police arrested six journalists during a raid on the Stand News office building in Hong Kong. It is the second media company that has been targeted by the judiciary within a few months.

The Hong Kong authorities have arrested six current and former employees of a news site. The police said more than 200 officers were on duty to search the office of “Stand News”, which is reportedly particularly popular with democracy activists. An AFP reporter saw the editor-in-chief, Patrick Lam, being led out of the office building in handcuffs.

“Stand News” is the second media company in Hong Kong, after “Apple Daily”, to be targeted by the judiciary. A video streamed live on the organization’s Facebook page showed police officers standing in front of editor Ronson Chan’s door early in the morning. They told Chan that they had a search warrant against him for “conspiracy to publish seditious publication”.

According to the head of the authorities, “Stand News” is “demonizing”

The legal basis for these allegations dates back to when Hong Kong was a British colony. Chan, who is also the chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association, was not arrested. However, according to media reports, lawyer and former MP Margaret Ng and former editor-in-chief of Stand News, Chung Pui-kuen, were among those arrested. Pop singer Denise Ho, who, like Ng, sat on the nonprofit company’s board of directors until her resignation in June, was also arrested, according to her Facebook page.

The Hong Kong authorities have repeatedly criticized Stand News. For example, security chief Chris Tang recently accused the site of publishing “biased, slanderous and demonizing” reports of detention conditions in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong there had been mass protests against Beijing’s growing influence for months in 2019. Since then, the authorities have been acting with increasing severity against critics in the Special Administrative Region.

“Apple Daily” had to stop operating

The so-called Security Act came into force in July 2020. It allows the authorities to crack down on any activity they believe threatens China’s national security. This includes all activities that China regards as calls for secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces, and terrorism. More than 100 activists have been arrested or awaiting trial. Many have already been convicted. Many opposition members have fled abroad for fear of prosecution.

In the middle of the year, the pro-democracy newspaper “Apple Daily” was forced to shut down after its assets were frozen and its executives were arrested. The 74-year-old owner and democracy activist Jimmy Lai is also in jail.


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