Police have arrested the former executive editor-in-chief and three other executives of Hong Kong's Apple Daily, a pro-democracy tabloid that was forced to close after authorities raided its offices and arrested staff on June 17.
In a statement to AFP news agency, police said they had arrested 51-year-old former editor Lam Man-chung for "collusion with foreign forces," a national security crime.
The paper's former deputy chief editor Chan Pui-man, managing editor Fung Wai-kong and lead editorial writer Yeung Ching-kei, who had already been arrested for "colluding with foreign forces," were detained again while on police bail, local media reported.
In a statement made late Wednesday, police said they officially pressed charges against four persons aged 51 to 57 for the named offense.
The tabloid's owner Jimmy Lai, 73, is also currently in prison and has been charged with collusion alongside two other executives who have been denied bail.
In June, police raided the newspaper's offices, taking away hard drives and laptops as evidence. The arrests of top executives, editors and journalists at the paper, as well as the freezing of assets, led Apply Daily to cease its operations last month. Itsold a million copies of its final edition.
Is Beijing trying to crush dissent in Hong Kong?
Officials said Apple Daily staffers were arrested for violating a national security law that was imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing last year. It was the first time police took aim at media organizations under the sweeping legislation.
Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in June 2020 to bring "stability" to the Chinese special administrative region that saw massive pro-democracy protests over the past few years.
But critics say the law has been used to crush dissent. Apple Daily said it was a "victim of tyranny," in its final edition, published on June 24 this year.
rm/sri (AFP, Reuters, AP)