The UK and the EU have criticised the arrests of five Apple Daily executives - and the police raid on the pro-democracy newspaper's offices in Tseung Kwan O on Thursday morning. The paper's editor-in-chief, Ryan Law, was among the five.
Britain said the raid showed that China was using the national security law to target dissent rather than deal with public security.
"Today’s raids and arrests at Apple Daily in Hong Kong demonstrate Beijing is using the National Security Law to target dissenting voices, not tackle public security," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
"Freedom of the press is one of the rights China promised to protect in the Joint Declaration and should be respected," he added.
Meanwhile the European Union also expressed concerns about the latest developments in the SAR, accusing China of using the security law to silence the media and freedom of expression.
"This morning's raid on the offices of newspaper Apple Daily and the arrests of five of its senior management further demonstrates how the national security law is being used to stifle media freedom and freedom of expression in Hong Kong," an EU spokesperson said in a statement.
"It is essential that all the existing rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents are fully protected, including freedom of the press and of publication," said Nabila Massrali, EU spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy.
Police said the raid and the arrests were linked to newspaper articles calling for foreign sanctions.
"Police investigations suspected that the media company had conspired with others to publish articles on its newspaper and online to urge a foreign country or an institution, organisation or individual outside the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of the People’s Republic of China to impose sanctions or blockade, or engaging in other hostile activities against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and/or the People’s Republic of China," police said in a statement.
The police said all the arrested persons were being detained for enquiries and investigations were ongoing. It said police would not rule out the possibility of further arrests.
The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong backed the police action. In a statement, it accused foreign politicians and western media of making irresponsible remarks. It said no matter what tricks external intervention forces played, they could not shake SAR law enforcement and China's determination to safeguard national security.
Earlier, Apple Daily said deputy editor Chan Pui-man and chief executive editor Cheung Chi-wai were also arrested - along with the chief executive of parent company, Next Digital, Cheung Kim-hung, and the company's chief operating officer, Chow Tat-kuen. (Additional reporting by Reuters)
Last updated: 2021-06-17 HKT 23:40
UK and EU criticise Apple Daily arrests and raid
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