Singer Denise Ho Arrested by Hong Kong Police.
Board members of Stand News, a pro-democracy media outlet in Hong Kong, and the pop singer were detained as 200 officers raided the offices during the latest local government crackdown.
Stand News has said that it will cease operations after the police raid occurred during the early morning hours. All senior staff has resigned. Stand News was the only news agency in Hong Kong that worked with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to produce the Pandora Papers report in October 2021.
Agents arrested several staff members on charges of conspiring to publish seditious content.
Hundreds of agents raided the agency’s offices and arrested six people. Among those arrested were pop singer Denise Ho and lawyer Margaret Ng, who previously served on the agency’s board of directors.
Additional searches are underway at the homes of those arrested.
The crimes they are charged with were introduced under the National Security Law in June 2020, imposed by the central government in Beijing that bypassed the Hong Kong government.
Police also froze the accounts of Stand News.
According to officers, the agency published articles that incited hatred. Paradoxically, among the reasons for the arrests is the accusation, unfounded for the police, that recent protest convictions were an abuse of power by Hong Kong courts. Hong Kong’s security chief earlier this month had criticized the agency for its “biased” articles against the city’s new prison system.
Denise Ho and Margaret Ng had resigned a few months ago when the city’s largest pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily was shut down by police.
Ho confirmed in a Facebook post that she was arrested and taken to a police station.
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Sunny Cheung, a pro-democracy activist in exile, called the arrests outrageous since Stand News was the largest agency in Hong Kong still safeguarding press freedom in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Association of Journalists expressed concern.
Benedict Rogers, co-founder, and CEO of the nongovernmental organization Hong Kong Watch said the arrests represent a further assault on democracy.
The Taiwanese government has accused Beijing of wanting to crush Hong Kong’s democracy and freedom.
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