Hong Kong pro-democracy media outlet Stand News said on Wednesday it would shut down after police raided its office.
It said on a Facebook post, “As a result of the circumstances, Stand News has immediately halted operations. This includes our website and all social media platforms, which we immediately stopped updating, and will be removed by today. Editor in Chief Mr. Patrick Lam has resigned and all staff at the Stand News have been immediately dismissed.”
Six people from an independent news organisation in Hong Kong have been arrested for “conspiracy to print seditious publications,” according to Hong Kong police. Those targeted included both current and past Stand News employees.
More than 200 police officers were dispatched to the publication’s headquarters, where search efforts are still ongoing.
In a statement, police claimed they had been given permission to “examine and seize relevant journalistic materials.”
According to local media sources, four former board members were also arrested, including Hong Kong pop diva Denise Ho, attorney Margaret Ng, Christine Fang, and Chow Tat-chi.
In a Facebook post, she verified that she had been arrested on the same charge and taken to the Western District Police Station.
After Apple Daily, which shut down in June after its assets were blocked under the national security law, Stand News is the second Hong Kong media company to be targeted by the government.
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Stand News has been routinely chastised by Hong Kong authorities, with security chief Chris Tang condemning it this month for publishing “biased, disparaging, and demonising” reports on jail conditions.
The city has traditionally been a regional media centre, but as Beijing exercises greater authority over the city, it has slipped down the press freedom rankings in recent years.
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According to exiled campaigner Nathan Law, the arrests highlight the government’s harassment of journalists and media who “dare to oppose them and express the truth.”
Sunny Cheung, a well-known campaigner who is presently seeking asylum in the United States, believes Beijing is suffocating any dissent.
(With inputs from agencies)