Stand News was shut down after national security police raided its office Wednesday, arrested seven people associated with the publication and froze about 61 million Hong Kong dollars ($ 7.8 millón) worth of assets from the company.
Police say the arrests were connected to multiple “seditious” articles published by the outlet between July 2020 y noviembre 2021.
The arrests included pop star Denise Ho and Margaret Ng, a former pro-democracy lawmaker and prominent barrister — both former members of the news outlet’s board of directors. Also arrested were former Stand News chief editor Chung Pui-kuen and acting chief editor Patrick Lam, according to the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA).
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended the raid, claiming it had nothing to do with what they wrote.
“This was purely enforcement work. This has nothing to do with journalistic or media work,” Lam said Thursday.
Since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong in 2020, pro-democracy groups have dissolved, activists and journalists have been arrested, and a number of independent media outlets have shut down.
El verano pasado, Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy publication, closed after the arrests of multiple journalists and the freezing of millions of dollars of assets under the national security law.
Jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who founded Apple Daily, was slapped with an additional “seditious publications” charge last week on top of charges he already faces under the national security law.
Lai was sentenced to 13 months in prison in December for inciting and participating in the city’s annual candlelight vigil in 2020 to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Authorities had declared that assembly illegal, owing to coronavirus restrictions. Lai was already serving time in prison for other charges.