Apple Daily crackdown "sent shudders across media industry", says Hong Kong-based journalist

Sun Online Desk

22nd June, 2021 09:54:03 PM printer

Apple Daily crackdown

After 500 police officers raided the Apple Daily newsroom in Hong Kong last week to arrest executives and top editors, a Hong-Kong based reporter on Sunday said that the incident has "sent shudders" throughout the media industry.

Speaking to CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter on Sunday, Elaine Yu, a Hong Kong-based reporter for the Wall Street Journal, said: "This has sent shudders through the industry... It raises important new questions about how media outlets can report on topics that are now considered highly sensitive."

The Hong Kong-based reporter also said that government critics and other people could become scared of talking to the media and that the latest crackdown has "wide, wide-reaching consequences".

On Thursday, the Hong Kong police forces arrested five Apple Daily executives marking the first time top editors of a media agency had been arrested under the draconian national security law.

Those arrested include Editor-in-chief Ryan Law Wai-kwong, chief operating officer (COO) and publisher Cheung Kim-hung, who is also CEO of the newspaper's parent company Next Digital. They are accused of colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security, the news company said Thursday.

The prosecution alleged that Law and Cheung, together with the three companies, conspired with the newspaper's founder, Jimmy Lai, to impose sanctions or engage in hostile activities against Hong Kong or mainland China.

Law and Cheung were earlier remanded in custody after they were deemed as a threat to national security. Chief Magistrate So Wai Tak turned down the bail applications of the duo, despite they offered HKD 3 million for their release and pledging to resign from their posts at the 25-year-old media outlet, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

They face life imprisonment if convicted under the Beijing-imposed security law.

Meanwhile, Lai, the founder of the newspaper, is currently serving a 20-month sentence for his role in the three-unauthorized protest in 2018 in a separate case.

Apple Daily, founded in 1995, has been facing a crackdown by pro-Beijing authorities in Hong Kong. It is believed to be targeted for calling out China's heavy-handed responses and a clampdown on Hong Kong's autonomy.

Meanwhile, Mark Simon, Lai's assistant, told CNN's Stelter: "Unfortunately, if I was in Hong Kong, I'd probably not be out in public and able to do a television show."

He further informed that Hong Kong's Secretary of Security and the police will not let the news outlet pay reporters, staff or vendors. "They have locked up our accounts".

Hong Kong's security chief John Lee warned fellow journalists to shun five arrested executives, following a raid on the newsroom by hundreds of police.

"Ordinary journalists are different, and should not get involved with them, keep a distance from them," Lee told a press conference. "I hereby solemnly declare that: don't associate with these criminals endangering national security, you will pay a hefty price if [you] stand with these criminals, [you] should cut ties with these criminals before it's too late to repent."

Meanwhile, several countries including the US and UK condemned these arrests and termed it as an attempt to throttle free press. (

Source: ANI