Police actions against an online media outlet have nothing to do with the suppression of press freedom, and seditious activities cannot be condoned under the guise of news reporting, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Thursday.
Lam's remarks came a day after the police's National Security Department arrested seven people for alleged conspiracy to publish seditious materials, including six former executives of Stand News and one former executive of the now-defunct tabloid Apple Daily.
Some Western media organizations, which were ill-informed about Hong Kong's law and the evidence of the case, trample on the rule of law of Hong Kong by demanding the release of those arrested, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam
In meeting the media, Lam refuted allegations from some foreign countries and media about the arrests.
Some Western media organizations, which were ill-informed about Hong Kong's law and the evidence of the case, trample on the rule of law of Hong Kong by demanding the release of those arrested, Lam said.
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Lam stressed the police's actions were purely law enforcement based on evidence and the law, which had nothing to do with press freedom and was not targeting any specific media organization with a particular political stance.
"Nobody should associate law enforcement actions with the freedom of the press," said Lam, adding Hong Kong is proud to be a place of rule of law.
A worker carrying documents walks past police officers outside the office building of the Stand News in Hong Kong on Dec 29, 2021. (VINCENT YU / AP)
No one is above the law. The government and legislature is also subject to the law, why should the media be an exception?
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, HK Chief Executive
Noting the Basic Law protects residents' freedom of speech, Lam pointed out such freedom is not absolute and should not undermine national security.
"No one is above the law. The government and legislature is also subject to the law, why should the media be an exception?" Lam asked.
"It should be very clear what is news reporting and what is seditious activities undermining national security," Lam added.
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Lam said she believes people by now have realized the importance of adhering to the rule of law to ensure offences will be taken seriously, noting people's suffering from violence during the social unrest in 2019.
"Nobody in Hong Kong wants to see that happen again," Lam said.