TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hong Kong police visited the offices of three media organizations on Wednesday morning (Jan. 6), hours after making mass arrests of pro-democracy figures on suspicion of violating the national security law.
Law enforcement knocked on the doors of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and online news outlets StandNews and InMedia, with warrants, ordering them to provide information on last summer's primary election candidates within seven days, according to local reports. The police did not search the newsrooms.
This comes hours after 53 former lawmakers, district councilors, activists, and scholars were arrested for their involvement in the pro-democracy camp’s primary election last year. They are reportedly accused of subversion under the city's national security law, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Apple Daily's editor-in-chief Ryan Law (羅偉光) said news organizations covered the primary election as part of their duties. The police action in the morning constituted a threat and was intended to put pressure on the press, he said.
StandNews chief editor Chung Pui-kuen (鍾沛權) said four police officers appeared at the newsroom and asked him to sign a government order. The order demanded documents, according to Chung, who declined to comment further, saying he had to discuss with lawyers before making a statement.
Reporters Sans Frontiers “denounces the increasing Hong Kong government harassment on independent media outlets Stand News, InMedia and Apple Daily and urges it to restore full press freedom in the territory,” stated Cedric Alviani, head of the press freedom advocacy group's East Asia Bureau, according to Hong Kong Free Press on Wednesday.