Ho, a former Stand News board member, was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Canada. She found fame in the early 2000s with a string of hit albums, before later building a successful career as an actress.
She later became an international face of Hong Hong’s pro-democracy movement, appearing before both the United Nations and the United States Congress.
Police spent more than two hours at Ho’s home Wednesday, according to her assistant, who asked not to be named. Officers seized phones and computers, as well as Ho’s identification card and passport. She was then taken to a police station, according to a post on Ho’s verified Facebook page.
Also on Wednesday, some 200 police officers raided the Stand News offices and seized journalistic materials, according to the Hong Kong government and the Hong Kong Journalists Association — raising further concerns about diminishing press freedoms following the imposition of a sweeping National Security Law on the city in 2020.
The Hong Kong government has repeatedly denied criticism that the law — which criminalizes acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces — has stifled freedoms, claiming instead it has restored order in the city after the 2019 protest movement.
Ho she first took an interest in politics in 2012 after coming out as gay, but it was the 2014 student-led Umbrella Movement — a series of massive pro-democracy demonstrations and sit-ins — that saw her take up a more prominent role.
She took to the streets, becoming one of the movement’s most outspoken supporters, and one of the last to be hauled off by police when they cleared the protest camps.
“I have this younger generation who listens to my music,” Ho told CNN in 2017. “So I think I have this responsibility to do the right thing, and not spread fear by my actions.”
During the UN address, Chinese diplomats repeatedly interrupted, accusing her of violating the UN constitution and of “baselessly” attacking Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” model of governance.
Her activism has also drawn other repercussions over the years — including being blacklisted and censored in mainland China.
Chinese state media has attacked Ho as “Hong Kong poison” in previous years. In 2016, amid amid criticism of Ho from Beijing, luxury brand Lancome canceled a promotional concert featuring the star, citing “safety reasons.”
CNN’s Nectar Gan, James Griffiths, Teele Rebane and Jadyn Sham contributed reporting.