22nd July 2021 – (Hong Kong) The top officials of the now defunct “Apple Daily”, a subsidiary of Next Digital, have been arrested and prosecuted again. The National Security Department of the police first arrested Lam Man-chung, the former Apple executive editor in the morning yesterday, and took him back to the Cheung Sha Wan Police Station. Later, in the afternoon and evening of the same day, the police revoked the bail for the arrested former Apple deputy chief editor Chan Pui-man, and the two Apple chief writer and chief columnist, Fung Wai-kwong and Yeung Ching Kee. All four were detained at Sau Mau Ping, Wan Chai and Tseung Kwan O Police Stations respectively.
The four were charged with “conspiracy to collude with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security” in violation of Article 29 of the Hong Kong National Security Law.
They appeared in West Kowloon Magistrate’s Courts this morning (22nd) in prison vehicles.
Chief Magistrate Victor So adjourned the case until 30th September, during which the defendants were not allowed to be released on bail and must be remanded in custody. The prosecution pointed out that the police will need time to conduct further investigations, including forensic testing of electronic equipment, reviewing more than 1,000 documents, investigating the financial affairs of individuals and related organisations. The four defendants have all applied for bail and provided a series of bail conditions, including bail of HK$100,000 to HK$200,000, relatives and friends acting as guarantors, curfew, surrender of travel documents, reporting to the police station regularly, and promise not to publish any articles, not to accept media interviews, not to participate in political activities and not to contact foreign politicians.
After hearing the submissions of the prosecution and the defence, the chief magistrate refused to release the four people on bail because he did not have sufficient reason to believe that the defendants would no longer commit acts endangering national security. The Chief Magistrate also revealed that some media outlets applied to the court this morning, hoping to exempt the legal procedures for reporting bail procedure under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance. However, after considering the defendant’s interests and the fairness of the trial, the court rejected the media outlet’s request, but allowed them to report on the defendant’s bail conditions.