Hong Kong pro-democracy paper Apple Daily to close by Saturday

23 June 2021, 09:04

Apple Daily
Hong Kong Apple Daily. Picture: PA

The move comes after five editors and executives were arrested and assets were frozen by authorities.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper will close by this weekend after police arrested five editors and executives and froze 2.3 million dollars (£1.65 million) in assets linked to the paper.

The board of directors said in a statement on Wednesday that the paper’s print and online editions will cease no later than Saturday due to “the current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong”.

So far, more than 100 people have been arrested under Hong Kong’s new national security law, including prominent pro-democracy activists and Apple Daily’s publisher Jimmy Lai.

Police cited more than 30 articles published by the paper as evidence of an alleged conspiracy to impose foreign sanctions on Hong Kong and China.

It was the freezing of assets that spelled the paper’s demise.

The board of directors had earlier this week written to Hong Kong’s security bureau requesting the release of some of its funds so that the company could pay wages.

Jimmy Lai
Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai (AP)

The police operation against Apple Daily drew criticism from the UK, US and EU, which said Hong Kong and Chinese authorities are targeting the freedoms promised to the city when the former British colony was returned to the control of Beijing in 1997.

Chinese and Hong Kong officials have said the media must abide by the law, and that press freedom cannot be used as a “shield” for illegal activities.

By Press Association