The heads of Apple Daily have been arrested in Hong Kong on suspicion of violating national security laws.
Authorities in Hong Kong arrested the editor and four other executives of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily in what appears to be another crackdown on pro-democracy movements. They were charged with violating China's highly contentious national security law.
Police raided the office of the newspaper known for its criticisms of the Chinese Community Party at approximately 7:30 a.m. local time. Despite the fact that all entrances and exits to the newsroom were blocked, the paper was able to broadcast a livestream of the raid on its Facebook page in real time.
Police stated in a statement that they searched the office following the acquisition of a warrant that "covered the power of searching and seizure of journalistic materials."
Additionally, authorities raided the homes of Apple Daily Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law, Cheung Kim-hung, COO Chow Tat-Keun, and Apple Daily Publisher Chan Pui-man and Director Cheung Chi-wai. Additionally, all five of those individuals were arrested.
While the arrestees were not named explicitly, police stated in their statement that they were arrested for "collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security."
Jimmy Lai, a pro-democracy figurehead in Hong Kong, was also arrested as the paper's owner.
Thursday's arrests marked the second time Apple Daily had been raided by authorities. Lai was arrested along with nine others, including his sons, during that raid.
According to BBC News, Beijing passed a law last year limiting Hong Kong's judicial autonomy in response to mass pro-democracy movements. Secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign nations were all criminal offenses, and those convicted faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Pro-democracy critics have questioned the law's legality, claiming that it violates the 1997 agreement under which Britain returned Hong Kong to China. The agreement facilitated the policy of "one country, two systems," which the national security law seeks to end.
Over 100 people have been arrested in Hong Kong since the law was passed.