Editor of Stand News Patrick Lam, center, is escorted by police officers into a van after they searched evidence at his office in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. Hong Kong police raided the office of the online news outlet on Wednesday after arresting several people for conspiracy to publish a seditious publication. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police on Thursday formally charged two people from an online pro-democracy news outlet with sedition, a day after the outlet said it would cease operations following a police raid on its office and seven arrests.

National security police said in a statement they had charged two men, aged 34 and 52, with one count each of conspiracy to publish a seditious publication but did not identify the men.

According to local media reports, the two charged are Chung Pui-kuen and Patrick Lam, who were editors at Stand News, an online pro-democracy news outlet.

The police also said they would prosecute the company for sedition.

Chung and Lam were being brought to West Kowloon court on Thursday, where the case against them will be mentioned.

The other arrestees are being detained for further questioning. Apart from Chung and Lam, four other former Stand News board members, including singer Denise Ho and former lawmaker Margaret Ng, were arrested on Wednesday.

Chan Pui-man, a former editor at the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper and Chung’s wife, was also arrested.

The seven were arrested under a crime ordinance that dates from Hong Kong’s days as a British colony before 1997, when it was returned to China. Those convicted could face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to 5,000 Hong Kong dollars ($640).

Stand News said in a statement yesterday that it would cease operations and had laid off all its staff.

The arrests and raid on Stand News come as authorities crack down on dissent in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Hong Kong police previously raided the offices of the now-defunct Apple Daily, seizing boxes of materials and computer hard drives to assist in their investigation and freezing millions in assets that later forced the newspaper to cease operations. (By ZEN SOO Associated Press)

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