Hong Kong police told the IFJ that the 61-year-old was arrested in relation to an investigation dating back to August 2020 into several top executives of Next Digital, the media group that publishes pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. Ting had served in a number of senior roles at Next Digital over 17 years until 2016. He was the executive director and chief operating officer when he resigned. He has since been released on bail but is ordered to report back to police in May.
Hong Kong’s national security police raided the headquarters of Apple Daily on August 10, 2020. Several top executives of the group were arrested the same day, including its founder Jimmy Lai, as well as two of Lai’s sons and the chief executive officer, Cheung Kim-hung.
In all, ten people detained in the August 2020 police operations were accused of “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” and “conspiracy to defraud”.
A staunch supporter of Hong Kong’s democratic movement and critic of Beijing, Jimmy Lai is one of the highest-profile cases among a growing list of arrests under the national security law. He has been in detention since late December 2020, with his bail applications repeatedly rejected.
As many as 100 people have now been arrested by the Hong Kong authorities under the national security law imposed on the city by the Beijing authorities in June 2020. According to the Hong Kong police, the arrestees include 83 males and 17 females aged between 16 and 79.
The IFJ said: “In just six months, the number of arrests under the national security law is gravely concerning. The authorities are utilizing the contentious law to crush political dissidents and critical voices. The IFJ condemns the arrest of Ting and calls on the authorities to stop targeting media workers with ungrounded acts.”