Hong Kong police raid Pro-Democracy Newspaper Apple Daily

Hong Kong police arrested the chief editor and four executives of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily on Thursday, raiding its newsroom for a second time in the latest blow to the outspoken tabloid. The paper and its jailed owner Jimmy Lai have long been a thorn in Beijing’s side with unapologetic support for the financial hub’s pro-democracy movement and scathing criticism of China’s authoritarian leaders.

More than 200 police officers took part in Thursday’s raid on Apple Daily’s offices. Police said the raid was sparked by articles Apple Daily had published “appealing for sanctions” against Hong Kong and China’s leaders. Apple Daily said its chief editor, Ryan Law, and four other executives with the newspaper and its parent company Next Digital were arrested. Police said that they were arrested on suspicion of collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security. The raid and arrests were conducted under the nearly 1-year-old national security law imposed on the semi-autonomous city by Beijing last year. Streaming video posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page showed officers cordoning off the building and walking through the newsroom. Police said the warrant authorizing the raid was aimed at gathering evidence of violating the national security law. Hong Kong Security Minister John Lee told reporters afterward that the raid was aimed at those using journalism “as a tool to endanger national security.”

This is the second time Apple Daily’s headquarters have been raided by police since the new law took effect. A raid last August came just hours after Jimmy Lai, Next Digital’s founder and owner, was arrested at his house on suspicion of foreign collusion.