Hong Kong’s Newsstands See Long Queues After Apple Daily Raid

Hong Kong residents have queued to buy copies of the Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper, a day after security forces raided its newsroom and arrested its editor-in-chief and four other directors.

The front page of Friday’s issue showed a message of defiance that read: “We must press on.”

The paper, which typically prints around 80,000 copies, was increased to 500,000 copies to meet the high demand. Hundreds of thousands of people queued at city newsstands before dawn on Friday to buy the newspaper’s latest edition.

The raid on the Apple Daily newsroom came after two of its executives were indicted under Hong Kong’s controversial and strict national security law.

Police detained five executives, including editor-in-chief Ryan Law and chief executive officer Cheung Kim-hung, who were the two charged. The other three detainees were Deputy Chief Editor Chan Pui-man, Chief Operating Officer Chow Tat-kuen, and Chief Executive Editor Cheung Chi-wai, who remain under investigation, police officials said.

Ms. Chan was released on bail on Friday night.

Outside the police station, she told reporters that she was saddened by the charges against her colleagues but added that she was proud of her staff for publishing the newspaper earlier that day. Authorities also said that Mr. Cheung and Mr. Chow remain in police custody.

Apple Daily is a tabloid that has gained popularity for its bold criticism of the mainland Chinese government.

Jimmy Lai, its billionaire owner, is a high-profile supporter of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Mr. Lai has been arrested on several controversial charges, including alleged participation in an unauthorized 2019 assembly.

He is one of the prominent activists arrested since China introduced its controversial national security law in 2020.

On Thursday morning, about 500 police officers went to the Apple Daily newsroom and seized hard drives and computers. Police also froze assets owned by three companies linked to the newspaper valued at HK$18 million ($2.3 million). Footage broadcast live by the newspaper via Facebook at the time of the raid showed officers sitting at desks accessing reporters’ devices.

At a press conference, authorities said that Apple Daily had published more than 30 articles asking other nations to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland China.