Hong Kong airport (Diego Delso, delso.photo, CC-BY-SA)

On June 27 Lo Fung, former editorial writer of the pro-democracy news outlet Apple Daily, was arrested at Hong Kong airport on charges of collusion with foreign forces.

Fung was about to board a flight to the United Kingdom when he was detained by police for allegedly “conspiring to collude with foreign countries or external forces to endanger national security” (串謀勾結外國或者境外勢力危害國家安全).

In June 2020 the Chinese Communist Party-controlled rubber-stamp legislature in Beijing passed the National Security Law (NSL) to crack down on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and on critics of the regime.

2019 interview with Lo Fung on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown

Apple Daily Hong Kong was forced to shut down on June 23 after the Hong Kong government froze its assets. Its owner Jimmy Lai is currently serving a jail term for taking part in an unauthorized protest. He awaits trial on additional charges that could result in a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

On June 17 the Hong Kong police raided the offices of Apple Daily’s parent company Next Digital and arrested chief editor Ryan Law (羅偉光), Next Digital CEO Cheung Kim-hung (張劍虹), Next Digital COO Royston Chow Tat-kuen (周達權), Apple Daily associate publisher Chan Pui-man (陳沛敏), and Apple Daily platform director Cheung Chi-wai (張志偉).

Lo Fung (盧峯) is the pen name of Fung Wai-kwong (馮偉光). In 1985 he obtained a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from the New Asia College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and in 1988 he received a master’s degree in philosophy.

In 1997 he began to work as a columnist for the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. He became the chief editor of Apple Daily’s English edition, which was launched on June 12, 2020. Apple Daily English shut down on June 22 this year amid the government’s crackdown. Fung is known as a vocal defender of press freedom.

A snippet of an editorial by Lo Fung, still temporarily visible on Google search results, though the website can no longer be accessed.
The day Apple Daily English edition was launched.
Apple Daily English edition’s brief message announcing its shutdown

According to Reporters without Borders, Hong Kong’s press freedom has declined sharply over the past several years. In 2013 Hong Kong ranked 58th out of 180 countries and regions for its media freedom, but in 2020 it plummeted to 80th. Hong Kong’s score is likely to fall even further due to the ongoing crackdown on freedom of speech and of the press.

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