The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said Thursday that the authority of the national security law in Hong Kong cannot be challenged and no one is above the rule of law.
The statement came after the Hong Kong police arrested five directors of Apple Daily who were suspected of conspiracy to commit collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security. The Security Bureau of the HKSAR government has also frozen assets of three companies involved, including Apple Daily.
The liaison office said it firmly supports law enforcement and all the efforts to safeguard national security and Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.
The Basic Law guarantees freedoms of speech, press and publication of Hong Kong residents, but rights and freedoms have boundaries and cannot breach the bottom line of national security, which is in line with relevant international conventions and the legal practices in various countries, the liaison office said.
Hong Kong is known for the rule of law and all are equal before the law, the liaison office said, stressing that media organizations should be no exception and freedom of the press is not a "shield" for illegal acts.
Anyone who violates the national security law in Hong Kong and other related laws will be severely punished by law, regardless of his or her profession and background and which force is behind, the liaison office said.