Journalist, lawyers, company chief arrested, as dozens of officers raid newsrooms Six people including a top barrister were arrested as the ICAC staged a series of raids on newspaper offices and premises across Hong Kong yesterday. The operation - which saw the newsrooms of the South China Morning Post, Oriental Daily News, Sing Tao, the Sun and Apple Daily raided and one journalist arrested - was in response to the naming in the media of a woman who is understood to be held under the Independent Commission Against Corruption's witness protection programme. Media representatives last night condemned the raids - which are understood to have included one on a journalist's home - as a dangerous overreaction that threatened press freedom. Hong Kong Journalists' Association chairwoman Cheung Ping-ling said: 'There was no need for this kind of action. 'If they wanted more information they could have just called the newspapers and asked.' Apart from the barrister and the journalist, the ICAC also arrested a solicitor, the chairman of a publicly listed company, a solicitor's clerk and one other person. They are facing possible charges including conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice, perjury and violating the Witness Protection Ordinance. Five ICAC investigators arrived at the Post's offices with search warrants shortly after 10am yesterday and demanded to interview certain reporters. They were joined an hour later by two more officers. South China Morning Post Group editor-in-chief David Armstrong and a company lawyer met the officers before allowing them to interview the reporters in relation to a report of court proceedings in which it was claimed the woman was being held by the ICAC against her will. The hearing concerned a writ of habeas corpus filed to determine whether or not the woman had voluntarily entered the anti-corruption watchdog's witness protection programme. The Post reporters were invited to return to ICAC offices to further assist with inquiries. They remained there until late last night. It is understood a number of journalists from other publications were also assisting with the investigation. One of the targeted newspapers refused to reveal which of its journalists wrote the story which so offended the ICAC. The Hong Kong News Executives Association questioned 'whether it is necessary for the anti-graft body to use a search warrant to obtain news workers' assistance'. It said: 'We urge the ICAC, prior to searching media organisations in the future, to consider if it would obstruct the normal news reporting work and hence lead to concerns ... about infringement of press freedom.' Mr Armstrong said: 'The Eliot Ness characters at the ICAC were engaged in a massive overreaction and seemed more concerned with creating a big splash on a high-profile case than in going about their business calmly and efficiently.' A spokesman for the Sing Tao Daily described the ICAC action as unnecessary and said it was 'in breach of the principle of freedom of the press' for officers to use a search warrant to search the newspaper and reporters' news information. Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's Apple Daily accused the graft-busting body of seriously disrupting its business without good reason.