HONG KONG – A former senior editor of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily was arrested by the National Security Police on Wednesday morning.
A police source told AFP that former executive editor-in-chief Lam Man-chung has been taken into custody.
In a statement, police said they had arrested a 51-year-old former newspaper editor for “collusion with foreign forces”, a national security offence.
Lam is the ninth employee of an Apple daily to be arrested under a broader national security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong last year after huge and often violent democracy protests.
Apple Daily, an unapologetic supporter of the democracy movement, released its final edition last month after its top leadership was arrested and its assets confiscated under a security law.
Lamm was the editor who oversaw that final edition, ending the newspaper’s 26-year run.
Officials said the Apple Daily’s reporting and editorial supported calls for international sanctions against China, a political stance that has been criminalized by the new security law.
Tabloid owner Jimmy Lai, 73, is currently in jail and has been charged with collusion with two other officers who have been denied bail.
If found guilty, he faces life imprisonment.
Among others arrested, but not currently charged, are two of the newspaper’s leading editorial writers, one of whom was detained at Hong Kong’s airport as he tried to leave the city.
The newspaper’s sudden demise was a stern warning to all media outlets over the reach of a new national security law in a city once billed as a symbol of press freedom in the region.
Last week the Hong Kong Journalists Association said media freedom was in “shattering” as China remodeled its once assertive business center in its authoritarian image.