Another Hong Kong professional

Another Hong Kong professional

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy news outlet Stand News closed after national security police raided its office and arrested seven people associated with the publication on Wednesday.

It is yet another blow to the decline in press freedom in the city. The independent news website announced on its Facebook page that it ceased operations and laid off all employees, effective immediately. The statement said Stand News will immediately stop updating its website and social media accounts, which will be removed in a few days.

That announcement comes after police arrested several current and former senior staff members associated with the publication, including pop star Denise Ho. At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Steve Li Kwai wah, chief superintendent of the Hong Kong Police Department of Homeland Security

Said the arrests were related to multiple “seditious” articles published by the outlet between July 2020 and November 2021.  that police raided the media outlet’s office in the Kwun Tong area of ​​the city and froze about 61 million Hong Kong dollars ($ 7.8 million) in company assets. About 200 police officers participated in the raid on the newsroom.

Where newspaper material was seized, according to a government statement the previous Wednesday. The arrests included Ho and Margaret Ng, a former pro-democracy legislator and prominent lawyer, both former members of the news outlet’s board of directors. Former Stand News editor-in-chief Chung Pui-kuen and acting editor-in-chief Patrick

Lam were also arrested, according to the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA). While an initial government published Wednesday referred to a conspiracy to publish seditious publications allegations stemming from a colonial-era crimes ordinance, the police involved in the Stand News case are national security agents. .

The arrests come at the end of a turbulent year for press freedom in Hong Kong, which calls itself “Asia’s world city” and once prided itself as the region’s leading international media center. The city’s previously vibrant media landscape has withered since Beijing imposed a sweeping National Security Law on the city in 2020.

 

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