Hong Kong: Police Arrest Apple Daily Editorial Writer at Airport

Hong Kong: Police Arrest Apple Daily Editorial Writer at Airport
Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images

What you need to know

Fung Wai-kong is the seventh executive at the shuttered pro-democracy newspaper to be arrested under the auspices of a national security law in recent weeks. He was reportedly trying to board a plane to the UK.

Hong Kong police arrested a senior editorial writer at the now-closed Apple Daily pro-democracy newspaper on Sunday night, local media reported.

Fung Wai-kong was detained at Hong Kong international airport for allegedly violating Hong Kong’s national security law, which was handed down from Beijing and enacted in the semi-autonomous city last year.

The writer’s arrest comes after Apple Daily printed its last copy on Thursday. It was forced to close Hong Kong when authorities froze the paper’s assets and detained its editor in chief and top executives.

Fung is the seventh staffer at the newspaper to be arrested for alleged violation of the national security law in recent weeks.

Why was Fung Wai-kong arrested?

Fung is believed to have been leaving Hong Kong for Britain at the time of his arrest on Sunday night, Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

He was arrested on suspicion of foreign collusion to endanger national security, reported SCMP and online news outlet Citizen News, citing unidentified sources.

He was being held at the airport police station and had not been charged, the SCMP reported.

The Hong Kong police said in a statement that a 57-year-old man had been arrested at the airport for “conspiring to collude with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security.”

They added that investigations were ongoing.

Fung, who is 57 years old, had been an editorial writer for Apple Daily since 1997, as well as a columnist at CitzenNews, a local news portal.

Hong Kong authorities clamp down on Apple Daily

Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images
A police officer stands guard outside the Apple Daily headquarters in Hong Kong, Thursday, June 17, 2021. Hong Kong police on Thursday morning arrested the chief editor and four other senior executives of Apple Daily under the national security law on suspicion of collusion with a foreign country to endanger national security, according to local media reports.

Apple Daily stopped its online operations on June 23 and printed its last edition a day later, as Hong Kong officials targeted the paper for its Beijing-critical reporting.

Earlier this month, authorities froze $2.3 million (€1.9 million) worth of Apple Daily’s assets, which made it impossible for the paper pay for operations. Several hundred police also raided its headquarters on June 17.

Jimmy Lai, the founder of Apple Daily’s parent company Next Digital, was also arrested in 2020 and later sentenced for his role in the 2019-2020 pro-democracy protests in the city.

The campaign against the newspaper came as part of a wider crackdown on the semi-autonomous territory’s pro-democracy movement following the protests.

Authorities say dozens of Apple Daily articles may have violated the Beijing-imposed national security law, the first instance of authorities taking aim at media reporting under the legislation.

The newspaper mixed pro-democracy views with celebrity gossip and investigations of those in power.

This article was originally published on Deutsche Welle. Read the original article here.

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TNL Editor: Jon Hum (@thenewslensintl)

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