Hong Kong national security police have arrested a 55-year-old Chinese man in connection with the Apple Daily newspaper investigation on suspicion of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces.
The pro-democracy tabloid said the man was their lead opinion writer Yeung Ching-Kei – known under the pen name Li Ping. Yeung – who police said was arrested in Tseung Kwan O on Wednesday – often published editorials for Apple Daily, as well as other opinion articles.
Meanwhile, the paper’s management instructed its employees to not head back to the office on Wednesday, a company employee told HKFP. Those who are in the office have been told to leave.
Paper faces closure
Some 500 police were involved in arresting five top executives, raising the paper’s headquarters, and charging parent company Next Digital’s CEO Cheung Kim-hung and Apple Daily Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law on suspicion of violating the national security law. The news outlet is accused of publishing more than 30 articles which called for sanctions on the Beijing and Hong Kong governments.
Last week, the Security Bureau and the police refused to indicate whether the allegedly offending articles were editorials, op-eds, or news reports, whilst – on Tuesday – Chief Executive Carrie Lam declined to clarify how reporters can avoid arrest.
A total of seven individuals connected to Apple Daily have been arrested under the national security law since its enactment last July. Three of them including the newspaper’s founder Jimmy Lai have been charged under the law.
The pro-democracy tabloid faces imminent closure after HK$18 million worth of its assets were frozen by the authorities. Unable to pay staff, many staff have resigned. The paper will decide on Friday whether to halt its local operations.
More to follow – refresh to update.