Hong Kong police arrest former senior editor of Apple Daily

Hong Kong police arrest former senior editor of Apple Daily
Lam Man-Chung is the eight person who worked at ‘Apple Daily’ to be arrested

A former executive editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper was arrested by the Hong Kong police on Wednesday, weeks after authorities froze the pro-democracy jornal'S assets, forcing it to wind up operations, according to local media reports.

51-year-old Lam Man-Chung was arrested on suspicion of “conspiring to collude with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security”, news agency Reuters reported citing a police statement.

Next Digital, the media group that owned Apple Daily, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple Daily printed a million copies of its final issue last month. The newspaper folded after several hundred police officers raided its headquarters on 17 June and froze key assets and bank accounts. They also arrested five executives and charged two of them with conspiracy to commit collusion with a foreign country.

Mr Lam is the eighth person who worked for the newspaper to be arrested.

Copies of the paper’s last edition, published on 24 Junho, included an image of an employee waving at supporters, with the headline: “Hong Kongers bid a painful farewell in the rain: ‘We support Apple Daily.’”

The paper’s management earlier released a statement about the decision “to cease operation immediately after midnight [sobre 23 Junho]”, citing concerns over the safety of staff members.

Police said several articles published by the newspaper violated the city’s China-imposed national security law, the first such instance where authorities aimed at media reports under the legislation.

Critics of the law say it is used to curb dissent and erode freedoms, including those of the media, in the name of national security.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the newspaper’s offices last month to show solidarity and bid farewell.

Hong Kongers shouted slogans including “support Apple Daily” and “Freedom of the press never dies,” according to toThe Standard, a Hong Kong newspaper.

An Apple Daily journalist holds freshly-printed copies of the newspaper’s last edition to be distributed to supporters gathered outside their office in Hong Kong early on 24 Junho

Apple Daily’s staff bowed outside the office’s main door and distributed free copies of the last edition.

“The forced closure of Apple Daily by the Hong Kong authorities is a chilling blow to freedom of expression in Hong Kong,” said Dominic Raab, the UK’s foreign secretary, at the time.

Britain was the colonial power in Hong Kong until 1997, when the city was returned to China on an agreement that its relative autonomy would be maintained. The UK has since been heavily critical of what it has called Beijing’s moves to row back on this arrangement.

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