Hong Kong journalist arrested for alleged sedition: reports

Allan Au faces up to one year in prison if found guilty under colonial-era law.

Hong Kong police arrested veteran journalist Allan Au early Monday morning on charges of sedition, according to local media, making him the latest government critic to face possible jail time.

Cable channel Now TV reported that Au was arrested at 6 am for “conspiracy to publish seditious material” in his contributions to Stand News, a shuttered pro-democracy news outlet.

Stand News was one of several pro-democracy news outlets that were forced to shut down last year after police raided its offices and arrested senior staff on sedition charges.

Other outlets include Apple Daily, whose top executives were arrested under new national security legislation, and Citizen News, which shut down citing safety concerns.

Au is employed as a consultant at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Journalism and Communication, although a link to his professional page now appears to be broken.

Au previously hosted a radio program for 11 years on public broadcaster RTHK until the station underwent a management overhaul last year and fired many of its long-time employees.

At the time, Au told the media that his dismissal may have been linked to his critical reporting on the Hong Kong government, according to RTHK.

Hong Kong’s sedition law dates back to the British colonial era as an “offense against the crown,” but it stayed on the books after the city returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

Since 2020, Hong Kong police have used both colonial-era laws and new national security legislation to crack down on journalists, activists, and opposition politicians.

Last week, Hong Kong arrested six people for alleged sedition after they clapped during court hearings in December and January.

Al Jazeera contacted Hong Kong Police, but they did not immediately confirm the arrest of Au or comment.

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