Veteran Hong Kong journalist arrested for ‘sedition’

HONG KONG (AFP) – A veteran Hong Kong journalist was arrested by national security police on Monday (April 11) for allegedly conspiring to publish “seditious materials”, a police source and local media said.

Allan Au, a 54-year-old reporter and journalism lecturer, was arrested in a dawn raid by Hong Kong’s national security police unit, multiple local media outlets reported.

A senior police source confirmed Au’s arrest to AFP on a charge of “conspiracy to publish seditious materials”.

Police have yet to release an official statement.

Au was a former columnist for Stand News, an online news platform that was shuttered last December after authorities froze the company’s assets using a national security law.

Two other senior employees of Stand News have already been charged with sedition.

National security charges have also been brought against jailed pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai and six former senior executives of Apple Daily.

Once Hong Kong’s most popular tabloid, Apple Daily collapsed last year when its newsroom was raided and assets were frozen under the security law.

Soon after Stand News was shut down, Au began to write “good morning” each day on his Facebook to confirm his safety.

One of the city’s most experienced local columnists, he was a Knight fellow at Stanford University in 2005 and earned a doctorate from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

In 2017 Au published a book about censorship in Hong Kong entitled “Freedom Under 20 Shades of Shadow”.

Au spent more than a decade working for RTHK, Hong Kong’s government broadcaster, running a current affairs show.

But he was axed last year after the authorities declared a shake-up that began transforming the once editorially independent broadcaster into something more resembling Chinese state media.

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