A man holds the final print edition of the Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily out of his car.

Dominic Chiu | SOPA pictures | LightRocket via Getty Images

When asked about Apple Daily’s alleged crimes, Hong Kong’s Security Minister John Lee said last week: “We speak of a conspiracy in which the suspects tried to use journalistic work to cooperate with a foreign country or external elements in order to issue sanctions to impose or commence hostile activities against Hong Kong “and China.

Apple Daily had come under increasing pressure from the Hong Kong authorities. Its owner, the media magnate Jimmy Lai, is a sharp critic of the Chinese central government. He is now in jail after being arrested under the Security Act.

The national security law came into force last year. Beijing said the law aims to ban secession, undermining state power, terrorist activities and foreign interference.

Chan, who is also assistant assignments editor for online news site The Stand News, said it was worrying that the red lines of the law were not clear. That means independent journalists “have to take some risks” to do their job, he added.

The application of the national security law by the Hong Kong authorities has been criticized by some, including the US and UK governments

Following the Apple Daily shutdown, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement: “It is crystal clear that the powers of the National Security Act are being used as a tool to restrict freedoms and punish dissenting opinions – instead of maintaining public order.”

Meanwhile, a European Union spokesman said the Hong Kong Apple Daily shutdown “seriously undermines media freedom and pluralism.”