Hundreds of Hong Kong national security police arrested at least six current and former staff at the office of an online pro-democracy media outlet in the early hours of this morning.
It forms part of the Beijing’s independent media crackdown, with Stand News its latest target for its alleged “conspiracy to publish seditious publications”.
The crime is punishable by up to two years in prison.
Searches of the journalists’ homes were also undertaken to search and seize relevant journalistic materials”, the police said in a statement.
“Over 200 uniformed and plain clothes police officers have been deployed during the operation. The search operation is under way,” the force added.
Beijing’s chief secretary John Lee has reportedly condemned using the news outlet, accusing it of “polluting journalism” and urging reporters to distance themselves from the outlet.
Two of those arrested, singer Denise Ho and lawmaker Margaret Ng, had resigned from their positions in June, as police raided Apple Daily offices.
It follows the squashing of Jimmy Lai-founded Apply Daily in June and in August, with the latter search eventually seeing the founder and six other top executives charged with the same alleged crime.
The Hong Kong Journalist’s Association said: “HKJA urges the government to protect press freedom in accordance with the Basic Law.”