A pro-democracy news outlet in Hong Kong was shut down Wednesday after police arrested seven people associated with the site and raided its offices, multiple sources reported.
Stand News issued a statement saying it closed its operations immediately and that its website and social media pages would be deleted within a day, The New York Times reported.
“Stand News’s editorial policy was to be independent and committed to safeguarding Hong Kong’s core values of democracy, human rights, freedom, the rule of law and justice,” Stand News said in a statement obtained by the NYT. “Thank you, readers, for your continued support.”
The seven were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to publish seditious material, local police said, according to the NYT. Included in the arrests was a famous singer and activist, Denise Ho, who previously served on the company’s board, the Associated Press reported.
Over 200 police officers were involved in the raid and had a warrant to seize journalistic materials under a security law enacted in 2020, according to the AP. Those arrested could face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to around $640.
“We are not targeting reporters, we are not targeting the media, we just targeted national security offenses,” said Li Kwai-wah, the senior superintendent of the police National Security Department, according to the AP. “If you only report, I don’t think this is a problem.”
The arrests follow an effort by officials to crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city, according to the AP. Hong Kong police previously raided the office of the former Apple Daily newspaper, seizing journalistic materials and arresting members of the organization, forcing the news outlet to close.
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