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Hong Kong police raid pro-democracy news media, arrest 6 people

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Crowds gathered in malls across Hong Kong on Monday in protest, calling for the government to respond to the five demands and disband the police force in 2019. Photo | Hong Kong Free Press HK.

About 200 Hong Kong police stormed local pro-democracy news media outlet Stand News in the early morning today, arresting six employees for allegedly publishing stories against the state following the massive and frequently violent democratic protests two years ago.

Stand News interim editor-in-chief Patrick Lam was amongst those who got arrested, including Hong Kong pop diva Denise Ho, barrister Margaret Ng, Christine Fang, and Chow Tat-chi, as well as four former board members.

The national security police have also confiscated journalistic materials with permission from the court.

Although deputy assignment editor Ronson Chan was investigated earlier that morning for accusations of conspiracy to print dissenting articles under a British colonial-era offence, he was not arrested.

However, the outlets’ ex-chief editor, Chung Pui-Kuen, was arrested after police searched his house.

Stand News, which was chastised by authorities for publishing stories about prison conditions earlier this month, became the second Hong Kong media outlet to face repression after Apple Daily, which shut down in 2020 after its assets were frozen under national security law.

Hong Kong has traditionally been a regional media centre, but as Beijing exercises greater authority over the city, it has slipped down the press freedom rankings in recent years.

According to exiled campaigner Nathan Law, the arrests highlight the government’s harassment of journalists and media outlets for not telling the truth to the world.

In a statement today, the Asia Program Coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists, Steven Butler, said…

“The arrests of six people associated with Stand News amounts to an open assault on Hong Kong’s already tattered press freedom, as China steps up direct control over the former colony.”

SOURCE: AFP

 

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