HKFP continues its monthly review of the latest developments in the crackdown on dissent under the National Security Act.
The headquarters of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily was raided in a police operation involving 500 officers after five senior executives from Next Digital and Apple Daily were arrested for allegedly conspiring to collude with foreign forces.
Among those arrested were Next Digital CEO Cheung Kim-hung, COO Royston Chow, Apple Daily editor, Ryan Law, associate editor Chan Pui-man and Cheung Chi-wai , which operates the newspaper’s online news platform.
Cheung Kim-hung and Law were then charged under the National Security Act. The couple were denied bail and were remanded in custody.
In the days following the raid, two columnists, Yeung Ching-Kei and Fung Wai-kong, who was also the former editor of the English news section of Apple Daily, were arrested.
The newspaper published its latest edition on June 24, after its board of directors decided to cease all operations in Hong Kong following the Security Bureau’s freeze of HK $ 18 million in assets. owned by three companies linked to Apple Daily.
Local media reported that the office requested “sensitive documents” from the company, including employee personal information, after Apple Daily asked the office to unfreeze its assets.
First national security trial
The first national security trial began in late June after the Appeals Court upheld the decision to try the city’s first national security suspect, Tong Ying-kit, without a jury.
Tong has applied for leave to initiate judicial review against a certificate from Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng. The court dismissed Tong’s request and said that a jury was not an “indispensable element” in a fair trial.
The 24-year-old then pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial, and the prosecution argued that the slogan “Free Hong Kong, a revolution of our time” was used with the intention of separating the city from China. .
Vigil of the Tiananmen Massacre
Following a police ban on the vigil of the Tiananmen massacre due to health concerns related to Covid-19, Hong Kong people have found other ways to commemorate the victims on the 32nd anniversary of the repression.
Attorney Chow Hang-tung was arrested on the morning of the anniversary, after police arrested her on suspicion of publicizing the illegal gathering. Hundreds of police cordoned off Victoria Park ahead of the scheduled time for the banned rally, as black-clad activists roamed the streets around the park with electronic candles.
Student leaders arrested
Two student activists from Student Politicism were arrested for planning to set up street kiosks on the second anniversary of a violent clash between police and pro-democracy protesters outside government headquarters on June 12.
Wong Yat-chin, 20, and spokesperson Alice Wong, 19, were arrested for allegedly inciting others to participate in an illegal gathering and for publicizing and publishing information about an unauthorized gathering .
Wong was arrested on the evening of June 4 after his group set up a street stand in Mong Kok to commemorate the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989 by showing a BBC documentary about the bloody crackdown.
Owen Chow, who is one of 47 Democrats accused of subversion after competing in the since-postponed primary elections for the Legislative Council election, has been released on bail by High Court Judge Esther Toh.
A total of 12 defendants in this case have been released on bail, with Chief Magistrate Victor So denying bail to seven other Democrats, Ben Chung, Gordon Ng, Henry Wong, Andrew Chiu, Lau Chak-fung, Gary Fan and Winnie Yu.
The prosecution also called for the case to be sent to the High Court, where the group of activists could be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty.
In another case, the Court of Appeal denied Lester Shum and Tiffany Yuen bail, pending an appeal against their prison terms for a banned vigil last year to commemorate the Tiananmen massacre. in 1989.
Shum and Yuen were sentenced to six and four months in prison respectively in May after pleading guilty to participating in an unauthorized rally on June 4 last year.
Baroness Brenda Hale, one of 13 foreign judges currently sitting as non-permanent members of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, has announced that she will step down from Hong Kong’s highest court at the end of her term. . She reportedly said there were “all kinds of question marks” about Beijing’s new national security law.
Censorship of films and books
The government updated the Film Censorship Ordinance to require the Film Censorship Authority to be “vigilant” against the description of “any act or activity that may constitute an offense endangering national security” by verifying whether the films are suitable for public screening.
Hong Kong Book Fair organizers said they would notify police if they received complaints about exhibits suspected of violating national security law, while books written by media mogul Jimmy Lai had been removed from a public library.
The Department of Recreation and Cultural Services said a total of 72 collections had been suspended because their contents were suspected of violating national security law.
A US-based advocacy group, the Hong Kong Liberation Coalition, co-founded by former lawmaker Baggio Leung, said its website was taken down by the US web hosting company WordPress at the request of the Hong Police Kong for reasons of national security. WordPress denied the claim, saying only that the group had broken its rules.
Israel-based web host Wix said it erred in removing a Hong Kong Democracy website, www.2021HKCharter.com, from its servers following a takedown request under Hong Kong Police National Security Law.
SIM card registration
Prepaid SIM card users will be required to provide their name, ID card number, date of birth and a copy of their ID by February 23, 2023. The government has said the new regulations are needed. to fill in the “gaping gaps”. in the regulations in force and allow law enforcement officers to better investigate crime.
A 17-year-old high school student has been remanded in custody for alleged conspiracy to produce seditious publications with a 45-year-old woman.
The couple are accused of conspiring to print and distribute materials last year to induce Hong Kong residents to “attempt to change, other than by lawful means, any other matter in Hong Kong in accordance with the law established, or to advise disobedience to the law or to any lawful order.
Police also deployed more than 20 police officers to arrest a 40-year-old man in connection with the display of a protest flag outside an apartment window in Mong Kok. A 36-year-old woman was also arrested for alleged “seditious intentions” for the same incident.
In another case, a 37-year-old man was arrested under British colonial-era laws for allegedly “committing acts with seditious intent” after protest stickers were found on the security gate of ‘an apartment in Chai Wan. Police said the stickers were also an alleged violation of the National Security Act