The front page featured images of the editors and executives handcuffed and taken away by police.
Members of other media were invited to watch the Friday edition come off the presses, and residents of Hong Kong lined up to buy the pro-democracy newspaper, some specifically to protest the arrests.
“There is already a lot of injustice in Hong Kong. I think there are a lot of things we can’t do anymore, ”Lisa Cheung told the AP. “Buying a copy is all we can do. When the law can no longer protect Hong Kong people, we just have to do what we can. “
Chinese authorities charged two of those arrested on Friday under a national security law imposed following massive pro-democracy protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019.
It was the first time, according to the AP, that the law had been used to directly target a media outlet.
Authorities did not name the men, but the South China Morning Post newspaper said they were the editor of Apply Daily, Ryan Law, and Cheung Kim-hung, CEO of publisher Next. Digital from Apple Daily. They are expected to appear in court on Saturday.
After the raid and the arrests, Security Minister John Lee threatened other journalists, saying any media “in cahoots” with Apple Daily would pay the price.
Thursday’s arrests came a month after Chinese authorities sentenced Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai to 14 months in prison for helping organize an unauthorized pro-democracy rally in October 2019 in Hong Kong.
A month earlier, they had given him a separate 14-month sentence for attending and staging a protest in August 2019.