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104 views • November 23, 2022

6 Former Staff of Hong Kong Newspaper Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Collude

NTD News
NTD News
HONG KONG—Six former members of staff at Hong Kong's defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to commit collusion with foreign forces in a closely watched national security case. The six pleaded guilty to conspiring with media tycoon Jimmy Lai and other people to request a foreign country or organization “to impose sanctions or blockade, or engage in other hostile activities” against the Hong Kong government and the Chinese communist regime between July 2020 and June 2021. The six include Cheung Kim-hung, who was chief executive of the newspaper's former owner Next Digital, Apple Daily's former associate publisher Chan Pui-man, former editor-in-chief Ryan Law, former executive editor-in-chief Lam Man-chung, former English edition editor-in-chief Fung Wai-kong, and former editorial writer Yeung Ching-kee. Prosecutor Anthony Chau said Apple Daily was used as a platform to advocate for foreign sanctions. Chau also cited content published by the Apple Daily as far back as March 2019, which he said included seditious statements and appeals to the public to take part in pro-democracy protests that year. The 2019 protests were the biggest since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and were fueled by criticism from democracy campaigners who said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had reneged on a commitment to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms under a “one country, two systems” formula. Following the protests, the CCP imposed a national security law in 2020 setting out punishment of up to life in prison for acts that the CCP considers as subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces. Lai and the six former Apple Daily staff members were charged with conspiracy to commit collusion with foreign forces under the law. A fierce critic of Beijing, Lai, who is already in jail after being convicted for his role in an illegal assembly in 2020, faces multiple charges under the national security law. Lai and his three companies have pleaded not guilty to the national security and sedition charges. Some of the six will give evidence in Lai's trial, Chau said. Their sentences will be handed down at the end that trial, which will begin on Dec. 1 and is expected to last 30 days.
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