Hong Kong News Outlet to Stop Accepting new Subscriptions due to National Security Law

Hong Kong pro-democracy online news outlet Stand News said it would stop taking money from subscribers and donors and would not accept any new subscriptions to prevent the money from going to waste, should its assets be frozen due to the national security law.

Authorities are allowed to freeze assets under the law if they believe the money is linked to a crime. Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong, had its assets frozen under the national security law.

Although Stand News said it would stop taking new subscriptions, the news outlet still plans to continue publishing.

"In the past six and a half years, the Stand News team has been through trials and hardships with the people of Hong Kong, cherishing each other and weaving the common memory of Hong Kong's survival," it said in a statement.

"To pass on these memories, we will stick to our posts, walk with the people of Hong Kong ... and write and record the news and happenings in Hong Kong."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Apple Daily Staff
An Apple Daily staff member distributes the last issue of the newspaper to the supporters. Pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will cease operation from 24th June after authorities used a national security law to arrest its top editors and freeze company assets. Tang Yan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An editorial writer from the now-defunct Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily was arrested at the airport on Sunday night while attempting to leave the city, local media reported.

Local newspaper South China Morning Post and online news outlet Citizen News cited unidentified sources saying that editorial writer Fung Wai-kong was arrested on suspicion of foreign collusion to endanger national security.

Fung was believed to be leaving for Britain when he was arrested, local media reported. Police said they arrested a 57-year-old man at the airport Sunday night under the national security law, but did not identify him.

He is the second editorial writer at Apple Daily to be arrested, and the seventh person to be arrested at the paper in two weeks. So far, the seven arrested are either journalists or executives of Apple Daily, as Hong Kong authorities crack down on dissent in the semi-autonomous city, arresting most of the city's prominent pro-democracy figures and revamping Hong Kong's election laws to keep opposing voices out of the legislature.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association condemned the police for targeting journalists.

"The HKJA reiterates that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are core values ​​of Hong Kong," it said in a statement. "If even the writing of the literati cannot be tolerated, it will be difficult for Hong Kong to be regarded as an international city."

Fung's arrest also comes as Stand News said in a statement that it would remove commentaries published on its site before June and halt its fundraising efforts because of concerns over the sweeping national security law.

The measures were taken to protect the news outlet's supporters, writers and editorial staffers in the "literary inquisition" of Hong Kong, Stand News said in a statement.

Earlier this month, authorities froze $2.3 million worth of assets linked to the Apple Daily newspaper. Last week, Apple Daily printed its final edition and ceased operations, citing employee safety and an inability to pay wages.

Hong Kong Police
In this Thursday, June 17, 2021, file photo, a police officer stands guard outside the Apple Daily headquarters in Hong Kong after arresting the chief editor and four other senior executives of the newspaper under the national security law on suspicion of collusion with a foreign country to endanger national security. Fung Wai-kong, an editorial writer of the now-defunct Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily was arrested at the airport on Sunday night, June 27, 2021, while attempting to leave the city, local media reported Sunday. Kin Cheung, File/AP Photo