Two Apple Daily executives are accused of undermining national security. Arrests as well as charges have been criticized by several international organizations and states.
In Hong Kong lawsuits against two Apple Daily executives began on Saturday, AFP news agency reported. Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Ryan Lawia and the CEO Cheung Kim-hungia accused of undermining China’s national security.
The accusations are based on stories published in the newspaper in which, according to police, international sanctions were demanded. During the investigations, more than 500 police officers conducted searches for a newspaper delivery, from which they seized computers, hard drives, and journalists ’notebooks, among other things.
The founder of Apple Day is a media mogul and democracy activist Jimmy Lai, which currently serving a prison sentence participation in large-scale, democratic demonstrations.
At issue is the first time that a national security law that came into force last year is being used against the Hong Kong media. The law was widely criticized for seeing it erode Hong Kong’s secession and democracy.
In addition to Law and Cheung, five other senior executives of the magazine were also arrested. They were released on bail on Friday.
People supporting the magazine gathered in front of the courthouse to show their support for the accused. They were accompanied by, among other things, yellow umbrellas with the emblem of the democracy movement and magazine T-shirts with the text “No fear, keep fighting”.
Read more: Hong Kong police raided pro-democracy newspaper – editor-in-chief and four others arrested
Arrests and searches against the newspaper have received criticism and condemnation from Western states, human rights and freedom of expression organizations, and the UN.
The trial is a warning shot against pro-democracy activists, according to journalists.
“I think what happens to Apple Day will happen to every other Hong Kong news media as well,” a reporter named Theresa said.
Another editor of the magazine said the employees of the magazine work as if each day were their last.
“Authorities initially said the national security law would only apply to a small percentage of people. But this is what’s happening to us, it shows nonsense, ”another reporter named Chang said.
Since the entry into force of the National Security Act last June, more than a hundred people have been arrested.
Hong Kong’s ranking on the international list of freedom of expression has plunged sharply in recent years. Back in 2002, the region ranked 18th, compared to 80 on this year’s list. Mainland China ranked 177th with a total of 180 countries and territories.