Sat, 24 Jul 2021

Hong Kong's Apple Daily may halt publication

22 Jun 2021, 03:55 GMT+10

Hong Kong, June 21 (ANI): Hong Kong's pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily could stop publishing on Saturday if the city authorities continue to keep its assets frozen after arresting five executives under the draconian National Security Law.

The Hong Kong Free Press reported that the management of the newspaper's parent company will decide on Friday whether to continue publishing the tabloid or not.

Mark Simon, an advisor to Hong Kong daily's jailed founder Jimmy Lai, said that the newspaper could not pay its staff because its bank accounts had been blocked.

On Thursday, the Hong Kong Police forces arrested five Apple Daily executives, marking the first time top editors of a media agency had been arrested under the draconian law.

Those arrested include Editor-in-chief Ryan Law Wai-kwong, chief operating officer (COO) and publisher Cheung Kim-hung, who is also CEO of the newspaper's parent company Next Digital. They are accused of colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security, the news company had said Thursday.

The prosecution alleged that Law and Cheung, together with the three companies, conspired with the newspaper's founder, Jimmy Lai, to impose sanctions or engage in hostile activities against Hong Kong or mainland China.

Law and Cheung were earlier remanded in custody after they were deemed as a threat to national security. Chief Magistrate So Wai Tak turned down the bail applications of the duo, despite they offered HKD 3 million for their release and pledging to resign from their posts, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

They face life imprisonment if convicted under the Beijing-imposed security law.

Meanwhile, Lai, the founder of the newspaper, is currently serving a 20-month sentence for his role in the three-unauthorized protest in 2018 in a separate case.

Apple Daily, founded in 1995, has been facing a crackdown by pro-Beijing authorities in Hong Kong. It is believed to be targeted for calling out China's heavy-handed responses and a clampdown on Hong Kong's autonomy. (ANI)

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