More former Apple staff charged, due in court

Top News | Sophie Hui 22 Jul 2021

Four former senior executives and key editorial writers of the now-defunct Apple Daily were charged with collusion with foreign forces under the national security law weeks after the newspaper ceased publication.

Sources said the four are former executive editor-in-chief Lam Man-chung, 51; former associate publisher Chan Pui-man, 51; former English news executive editor-in-chief and editorial writer Fung Wai-kong, 57 - who goes by the pen name "Lo Fung" - and another key editorial writer, Yeung Ching-kee, 55, whose pen name is "Li Ping."

They have been charged with collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security, for which the maximum penalty is a life sentence.

They will appear in West Kowloon Magistrates'Courts today.

The police national security department arrested Lam at his home in Sai Kung yesterday. He was detained in Cheung Sha Wan police station last night.

Police also rearrested and revoked the bail of Chan, Fung and Yeung.

Chan was supposed to report to police in mid-September after her arrest on June 17 along with four other senior executives for conspiring to collude with foreign forces. She was rearrested yesterday afternoon and detained in Sau Mau Ping police station.

Fung was arrested under the same offense on June 27 at Hong Kong International Airport while he was about to fly to Britain. He was detained at Wan Chai police station yesterday after being rearrested.

Yeung was arrested on June 23 for colluding with foreign forces to endanger national safety.

Lam and Chan had resigned after they oversaw the newspaper's last edition on June 24.

Police said investigations are ongoing and further arrests could be made.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association said it was shocked and baffled over the arrests of former employees of a media organization that had already ceased operations.

It urged the government to not spread "white terror" in the journalism profession and explain how legal and constitutionally protected journalistic work is able to threaten national security.

The association's chairman, Ronson Chan Long-sing, worried that more former employees or management of Apple Daily could be arrested.

In response to the arrests, Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung said: "Whoever commits an offense will be arrested, regardless of their background, whatever they do, their profession, it doesn't really matter."

Apple Daily ceased its online operation on June 23 and printed its last issue on June 24 after authorities froze HK$18 million of assets of Apple Daily Ltd, Apple Daily Printing and the AD Internet as part of a national security investigation. So far, at least 14 people related to the media outlet have been arrested or charged, including founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying.

Lai, 73, was charged with allegedly colluding with foreign forces as well as conspiracy to defraud. He is serving a 20-month sentence in jail for his role in unauthorized assemblies in 2019.

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