Hong Kong police arrest former senior editor of defunct Apple Daily
Hong Kong national security police Wednesday arrested a former editor at the now-defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, weeks after the paper was forced to close amid a crackdown on political dissent.
Lam Man-chung, who was executive editor in chief, was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to collude with foreign forces to endanger national security, according to the South China Morning Post, which cited an unnamed source. He is the eighth person from Apple Daily to be arrested in recent weeks.
Police acknowledged that a 51-year-old former newspaper editor was arrested Wednesday but did not identify him.
Two other former Apple Daily journalists — associate publisher and deputy chief editor Chan Pui-man and chief editorial writer Fung Wai-kong — were also detained Wednesday after their bail was revoked, according to local media reports.
Chan was among five Apple Daily executives and editors arrested June 17, and Fung was first arrested at the airport late last month while allegedly attempting to leave on a flight to Britain.
Hong Kong security minister Chris Tang denied that the arrests would trigger a climate of fear among journalists. But the Hong Kong Journalists Assn. criticized the “repeated targeting of journalists” from Apple Daily, stating that it was “shocked and puzzled” by Lam’s arrest Wednesday since the newspaper had already ceased operations.
The raid this week of Apple Daily’s newsroom and leadership changes at broadcaster iCable highlight the shrinking space for independent journalism as Beijing exerts more control over a once freewheeling Hong Kong.
“Freedom of the press and the freedom to publish are important cornerstones for the success of an international city,” the association said in a statement on its Facebook page.
In June, police raided Apple Daily’s offices, confiscating hard drives and laptops. The arrests of top executives, editors and reporters at the paper, as well as the freezing of $2.3 million in assets, led Apple Daily to cease operations last month. It sold 1 million copies of its final edition.
Following months of anti-government protests in 2019, Beijing last year imposed a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong, a measure that critics say restricts the freedoms promised to the former British colony when it was handed over to China in 1997. More than 100 pro-democracy supporters have been arrested, and many others have fled abroad.
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