An editorial writer of the now-defunct Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily was arrested at the airport on Sunday night.
This was done while he was attempting to leave the city. The editorial writer Fung Wai-kong (57) was arrested on suspicion of foreign conspiracy to endanger national security. He is the seventh Apple Daily executive to be arrested in two weeks, as Hong Kong authorities’ crackdown on opposition in the semi-autonomous city.
He was believed to be leaving for Britain when he was arrested. Police arrested him on Sunday night under the national security law, but did not identify him.
They have so far arrested most of the city’s prominent pro-democracy figures and overhauling Hong Kong’s election laws to keep opposition voices out of the legislature.
Earlier this month, authorities froze $2.3 million worth of assets linked to the Apple Daily newspaper. Last week, Apple Daily printed its final edition and stopped operations, citing employee safety and an inability to pay wages.
The Hong Kong Journalists Assn. condemned the police for targeting journalists HKJA reiterates that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are core values of Hong Kong,” it said in a statement. “If even the writing of the literati cannot be tolerated, it will be difficult for Hong Kong to be regarded as an international city.”
Fung's arrest also comes as pro-democracy online news outlet Stand News said in a statement that it would remove commentaries published on its site before June and halt its fundraising efforts because of concerns over the sweeping national security law. The measures were taken to protect the news outlet's supporters, writers and editorial staffers in the “literary inquisition” of Hong Kong. Despite the precautionary measures taken, Stand News pledged to keep reporting the news.
Stand News stated: “In the past six and a half years, the Stand News team has been through trials and hardships with the people of Hong Kong, cherishing each other and weaving the common memory of Hong Kong's survival. To pass on these memories, we will stick to our posts, walk with the people of Hong Kong … and write and record the news and happenings in Hong Kong.”