Hong Kong Police Arrest 1, Detain 2 Ex-Apple Daily Journalists Weeks After Paper Folds

Hong Kong police arrested a former Apple Daily editor and detained two former journalists from the pro-democracy newspaper on Wednesday weeks after the paper folded, the Associated Press reported.

Former executive Editor-In-Chief Lam Man-chung of the newspaper was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to work with foreign forces to threaten national security, the South China Morning Post reported. Two former journalists from Apple Daily, Chan Pui-man and Fung Wai-kong, were detained following their bail being revoked after their arrests in June.

"Whoever committed an offense will be arrested, disregarding their background, whatever they do, or what are their professions," said Hong Kong security minister Chris Tang. "It doesn't really matter. If they committed an offense, they will be arrested. And if there is any evidence, they will be prosecuted."

Apple Daily had to cease publishing after its $2.3 million worth of assets were frozen by authorities. It printed its last edition on June 24.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Apple Daily Newspaper
Hong Kong police arrested a former Apple Daily editor and detained two former journalists from the newspaper weeks after it folded. In this photo, a supporter holds up a copy of Apple Daily newspaper on June 19, 2021 in Hong Kong, China. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

The South China Morning Post newspaper cited an unnamed source. Lam is the eighth person from the newspaper who has been arrested in recent weeks.

Chan, former associate publisher and deputy chief editor, was among five Apple Daily executives and editors arrested on June 17, and Fung, the former chief editorial writer, was first arrested at the airport late last month while allegedly attempting to leave on a flight to the U.K.

Police said a 51-year-old former editor was arrested Wednesday in relation to a similar case in June, but did not identify him. They also confirmed Wednesday that they had revoked bail arrangements for a 51-year-old woman and a 57-year-old man who were arrested in June and are detaining them for further investigation.

Tang denied that the arrests would trigger a "white terror" — a term referring to a climate of fear caused by political repression — among journalists.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association criticized the "repeated targeting of journalists" from Apple Daily, stating that it was "shocked and puzzled" by the arrest of Lam since the newspaper had already ceased operations.

The association also asked the government to explain how news and publishing work which has been legally carried out and is protected under the city's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, could endanger national security.

"Freedom of the press and the freedom to publish are important cornerstones for the success of an international city," it said in a statement on its Facebook page.

In June, police raided the Apple Daily's offices, taking away hard drives and laptops as evidence. The arrests of top executives, editors and journalists at the paper, as well as the freezing of assets, led it to cease its operations last month. It sold a million copies of its final edition.

Following months of anti-government protests in 2019, Beijing last year imposed a sweeping national security law in the semi-autonomous city that critics say restricts freedoms promised to the former British colony that are not found on mainland China. More than 100 pro-democracy supporters have been arrested, and many others have fled abroad.

Former Apple Daily Editor
In this June 23, 2021, file photo, Lam Man-chung, center, executive editor-in-chief of Apple Daily, gestures at the headquarters before the newspaper stop publishing in Hong Kong. Kin Cheung/AP Photo