'Cut ties with Apple Daily execs or you'll regret it' - RTHK
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'Cut ties with Apple Daily execs or you'll regret it'

2021-06-17 HKT 13:41
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  • 'Cut ties with Apple Daily execs or you'll regret it'
Security Secretary John Lee on Thursday told the public and the media to cut all ties with several Apple Daily executives arrested under the national security law, warning people they "would regret it" if they didn't.

Lee made the comments at a press briefing, hours after a police raid on the newspaper's offices in Tseung Kwan O. Five directors of the media company were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to collude with external forces.

No charges against them had been announced, but Lee warned Hongkongers they should have nothing to do with the five.

"If you stand with these suspects, you will pay a hefty price. You should cut ties with the suspects or you'll regret it very much," he said.

The security minister also suggested that the executives' work had not been related to journalism and the media should also distance themselves from them.

"The suspects have been arrested on strong evidence that they're conspiring to endanger national security," Lee claimed.

"It is your choice whether you regard them as part of you, who go about your journalistic work lawfully and properly."

Police earlier said that the national security investigation was linked to at least 30 Apple Daily articles published since 2019 – before the security law was introduced. They alleged that the articles called for foreign sanctions against the SAR and central governments.

Lee repeatedly sidestepped questions as to whether the articles concerned are news reports or opinion pieces and wouldn't say whether people could be prosecuted for sharing Apple Daily posts or subscribing to the newspaper.

The police had earlier warned that people sharing the unidentified articles would be "attracting suspicion".

Lee also said that he had ordered HK$18 million of the media company's assets to be frozen because he had reason to believe the money belonged to a "criminal syndicate". He said such asset freezes are an internationally recognised practice.