HONG KONG: Hong Kong pro-democracy media outlet Stand News said on Wednesday it will close after a police raid and arrests of seven current and former staff members, in the latest blow to the city’s rapidly shrinking press freedoms.
Suppression of the semi-autonomous Chinese city’s local press has increased in the wake of 2019’s huge and often violent democracy protests and Beijing’s subsequent imposition of a sweeping national security law.
On Wednesday morning, police officers burst into Stand News’ office, seizing phones, computers, documents and thousands of dollars, while hauling its acting editor-in-chief into the headquarters in handcuffs as it was searched.
“Because of the current situation, Stand News will stop operating immediately,” the outlet said later in a statement on Facebook.
Stand News said its website and social media would no longer be updated and would be taken down soon. It added that acting editor-in-chief Patrick Lam, who was among those arrested, had resigned and all employees were terminated.
Steve Li, senior superintendent of the national security police, accused the media outlet of publishing news articles and blog posts between July 2020 and November 2021 that incited hatred towards the Hong Kong government, among other alleged crimes.