Hong Kong authorities raid pro-democracy Stand News outlet, arrest 6

Hong Kong police raid pro-democracy Stand News outlet, arrest six

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Stand News primary editor Patrick Lam is given the news outlet’s office complex in handcuffs after authorities were released to browse the properties in Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong district on December 29, 2021.

Daniel Suen|AFP|Getty Images

Hundreds of Hong Kong nationwide security authorities robbed the workplace of online pro-democracy media outlet Stand News on Wednesday and jailed 6 individuals, consisting of senior personnel, for “conspiracy to publish seditious publications.”

Stand News, established in 2014 as a non-profit, is the most popular staying pro-democracy publication in Hong Kong after a nationwide security probe previously this year resulted in the closure of imprisoned magnate Jimmy Lai’s renowned Apple Daily tabloid.

The raid even more raises issues about the liberty of speech which of the media in the previous British nest, which went back to Chinese guideline in 1997 with the pledge a vast array of specific rights would be secured.

Police stated in a declaration it was performing a search with a warrant licensing it “to search and seize relevant journalistic materials.”

“Over 200 uniformed and plain clothes police officers have been deployed during the operation. The search operation is underway,” the declaration stated.

Senior Stand News personnel might not be grabbed remark.

Sedition is not amongst the offenses noted under the sweeping nationwide security law enforced by Beijing on the city in June 2020 that penalizes terrorism, collusion with foreign forces, subversion and secession with possible life jail time.

But current court judgements have actually released authorities to utilize powers given by the brand-new legislation to release formerly sparsely utilized colonial period laws, consisting of the Crime Ordinance which covers sedition.

Authorities state the nationwide security law has actually brought back order after often-violent pro-democracy discontent in 2019 which it does not suppress rights and liberties. Critics state the legislation is a tool to quash dissent and has actually set the international monetary center on an authoritarian course.

In June, numerous authorities robbed the properties of Apple Daily, jailing executives for declared “collusion with a foreign country.” The paper consequently closed down after authorities froze its possessions.

On Tuesday, district attorneys submitted a “seditious publications” charge versus Lai and 6 other previous Apple Daily personnel, contributing to the earlier charges. The charge sheet stated their publications might “bring into hatred or contempt” or “excite disaffection” versus the Hong Kong and Chinese federal governments.

Police had not reveal which Apple Daily or Stand News short articles they thought about seditious.

‘Speech criminal activities’

The Stand News charter mentions that it will be independent, self-governing and devoted to securing Hong Kong’s core worths of “democracy, human rights, rule of law and justice.”

After the Apple Daily raid, Stand News stated it would stop accepting contributions from readers and had actually removed commentaries from the platform to secure advocates, authors and editorial personnel, including that “speech crimes” had actually concerned Hong Kong.

The June statement stated senior lawyer and previous democratic lawmaker Margaret Ng, pop vocalist Denise Ho and 4 others resigned from its board, with 2 founding directors, Tony Tsoi and previous chief editor Chung Pui- kuen, staying.

Local media stated the 6 individuals jailed on Wednesday consisted of Ng, Ho, Chung, acting chief editor Patrick Lam and 2 previous board members Chow Tat- chi and Christine Fang.

Stand News published a video of authorities getting to the house of Ronson Chan, its deputy project editor who is likewise the head of the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

“The charge was conspiracy to publish seditious publications. This is the court warrant and this is my warrant card. Your phone is obstructing our work,” an officer is seen stating.

Local broadcaster Cable television stated Chan was not jailed and just helping the examination.

Police stated in a different declaration that they had actually jailed 3 guys and 3 ladies, aged 34 to 73, which searches of their houses were underway. It did not call those jailed, in line with its normal practice.

The Stand News bureau in a commercial structure in the Kwun Tong working class district was partly sealed, with ratings of authorities milling about the lobby and 4 vans parked downstairs, according to a Reuters press reporter at the scene.

A cops media intermediary officer on the 14 th flooring stated entry to the workplace would not be allowed provided an “ongoing operation.”

In June, numerous authorities robbed the properties of the pro-democracy paper Apple Daily, jailing executives for declared “collusion with a foreign country.”

The paper consequently closed down.

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