The Apple Daily’s chief editorial writer was arrested at Hong Kong’s airport, local media reported, the seventh person swept up this month in a national security probe into the now-shut pro-democracy newspaper.
Fung Wai-kong was detained as he attempted to leave the city, media including the broadcaster TVB said Sunday, citing people it didn’t identify. Hong Kong police said in a statement that the city’s national security department held a 57-year-old man at Hong Kong International Airport for “conspiracy to collude with foreign forces to endanger national security,” without identifying Fung.
The move was linked to “arrest operations” on June 17 and June 23, the police said, dates that coincide with previous developments in the Apple Daily probe. “The operation is still ongoing and further arrests won’t be ruled out,” the police said.
China has used a national security law imposed on Hong Kong last year to crack down on dissent after protests that rocked the city in 2019, arresting pro-democracy activists and spurring criticism from the West. Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government credits the law with helping to restore stability to the Asian financial center and deny rolling back the free-speech protections guaranteed to the former British colony before its return to Chinese rule in 1997.
Earlier this month, authorities arrested Apple Daily’s three top editors and two executives at publisher Next Digital Ltd., with some 500 police officers descending on the company’s offices. The Apple Daily, which was also under cash pressure from an asset freeze, subsequently stopped publishing, with activists staging a midnight vigil outside the newspaper last week as the presses ran for what would likely be the last time.
The paper’s founder, media tycoon Jimmy Lai, is already serving prison time for his roles in unauthorized protests and is facing separate national security charges on allegations that he colluded with foreign powers. The accusations against him are based on his social media posts and comments to foreign media outlets, as well donations police say he made to the advocacy group “Stand With Hong Kong,” according to court filings and local media reports citing police documents.
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