The editor of Apple Daily, Kong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper, has faced court for the first time since his arrest under the city’s national security law.
Ryan Law, the chief editor, appeared alongside Cheung Kim-hung, the CEO of Next Digital, with both charged with collusion with a foreign country to endanger national security in a case widely seen as an attack on press freedom in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Chief Magistrate Victor So said there was not sufficient grounds to believe they would not violate the security law again and ordered them held at the Lai Chi Kok detention centre.
He set the next hearing for August 13.
Three others also arrested on Thursday – two Apple Daily senior editors and another executive – have not been charged yet and were released on bail late on Friday pending further investigation.
The Apple Daily has long been one of the most outspoken defenders of civil liberties in Hong Kong.
It supported massive protests demanding more democracy in 2019 and has criticised the subsequent crackdown, including the enactment of a national security law last year.
The central government in Beijing has defended the legislation and the crackdown on opposition voices as necessary to restore order and stability.
The 2019 protests that challenged Beijing’s rule often started as peaceful marches during the day but turned into violent clashes between hardcore demonstrators and police at night.
Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence after being convicted of playing a role in unauthorised assemblies – rallies and marches that had not received police approval – during the 2019 protests.
He has also been charged under the national security law.