HK police raid pro-democracy Stand News

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Police raided the offices of another pro-democracy media outlet deemed critical of the Hong Kong government on Wednesday (December 29)

This time, it was Stand News.

It's the most prominent pro-democracy publication after the now-defunct Apple Daily tabloid, which was targeted similarly earlier this year.

Stand News was shut down on Wednesday after its assets were frozen, boxes of evidence were carried away, and senior staff arrested on suspected "seditious publication" offenses.

The raid raises more concerns about press freedom in the former British colony

It returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise that a wide range of individual rights would be protected, media advocacy groups said.

The head of a police national security department, Steve Li, told reporters Stand News had published news and commentary inciting hatred against authorities.

Li said police seized assets worth 7.82 million US dollars, as well as computers, phones and journalistic materials, and that he did not rule out further arrests.

Police said 200 officers searched the Stand News office and that several people, aged 34-73, were arrested.

Its interim editor Patrick Lam was among them.

Media said former board members such as pop singer Denise Ho were also among those arrested.

Reuters could not reach those arrested or their legal representatives.

Hong Kong Chief Secretary John Lee said he supported the police action.

"Anybody who attempts to make use of media work as a tool to pursue their political purpose or other interests countering the law, particularly offenses that endanger national security, they are the evil element that damage press freedom."

The Hong Kong Journalists' Association says it is "deeply concerned" about the arrests.

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