Two former editors and two lead writers for the Apple Daily have been charged with “collaborating with foreign powers” under a controversial national security law passed by the communist regime in Beijing a year ago. one of the men arrested on Wednesday, along with two other former magazine employees.
The four defendants were denied bail because the court considered there was insufficient evidence that they “would not carry out additional acts that endanger national security,” according to public service channel RTHK. The goal has been postponed until September 30.
popular tabloid Apple Daily printed its last edition on June 24 after police raided the editorial office and arrested several employees. The newspaper and its founder, China-critical businessman Jimmy Lai, were a cornerstone of Hong Kong’s government and police, and thus became a target in attempts to suppress the island’s free media. Police said dozens of articles in the newspaper may have violated the National Security Act. The law has been criticized for suppressing press freedom in Hong Kong and for being able to cover all forms of criticism directed at China.
On Thursday, seven men involved in a violent attack on pro-democracy protesters in 2019, in connection with large-scale protests against increased Chinese control of Hong Kong, were also arrested.
The judges came on the day Two years after hundreds of men in white, armed with sticks, attacked people on their way home from a pro-democracy demonstration in Yuen Long City. Journalists and ordinary passengers were also beaten, and about 50 people were forced to go to the hospital.
The attack marked a turning point in the large-scale demonstrations in 2019, further undermining public confidence in the police and the Hong Kong government.
Only a few of the attackers were identified and arrested by the police. An investigation by RTHK showed that police had not stopped the gathering of men with sticks hours before the attack. Police later confirmed that some of those involved had links with the Triads, the Hong Kong mafia-like crime gang.
The seven defendants were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three years to nine months and seven years for their role in the attack.