Hong Kong’s Apple Daily to Close in 3 Days

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
June 23, 2021Hong Kong
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Hong Kong’s Apple Daily to Close in 3 Days
Copies of Next Digital's Apple Daily newspapers are seen at a newsstand in Hong Kong, China May 17, 2021. (REUTERS/Lam Yik)

Apple Daily, regarded as among the few independent media outlets in Hong Kong, will close by June 26 after police froze assets linked to the paper and arrested its executives.

The board of directors of Next Digital, Apple Daily’s parent company, announced on Wednesday that it “regrets to announce” the decision to cease operations of pro-democracy newspaper, citing “current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong.”

Next Digital is an investment holding company with a focus on media and publishing businesses. According to the announcement, the last print edition of Apple Daily will be on June 26, and the digital version will be accessible until 11:59 p.m. on the same day.

“The company thanks our readers for their loyal support and our journalists, staff, and advertisers for their commitment over the past 26 years,” the Next Digital board announced in a release.

The expected move to close operations comes after more than 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s headquarters on June 17 and arrested five executives on suspicion of colluding with foreigners to endanger national security, an ambiguous offense under the draconian national security law imposed by Beijing last year.

NTD Photo
Police officers look from the offices of the Apple Daily newspaper, published by Next Digital Ltd., in Hong Kong, on August 10, 2020. (Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)

Hong Kong police cited over 30 articles published by Apple Daily, accusing them as being part of an alleged conspiracy to impose foreign sanctions on Hong Kong and China, and said that the reports breached the national security law. It marks the first case where authorities have alleged media reports as violating the national security law.

Authorities also froze HK$18 million ($2.3 million) worth of assets from three companies linked to the paper.

On June 18, two Apple Daily executives were charged in Hong Kong with colluding with “a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” under Article 29 of the national security law that went into effect in July 2020.

Apple Daily is known for its critical coverage of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the current pro-Beijing Hong Kong government over past years of mass protests.

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who founded Next Digital and owns Apple Daily, is currently in jail, serving multiple sentences over his participation in multiple pro-democracy demonstrations.

More than 100 people have been arrested under the national security law to date.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hong Kong police arrested a 55-year-old man “on suspicion of conspiring to collude with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security.” Apple Daily identified the man as its lead opinion writer who uses the pseudonym Li Ping.

From The Epoch Times

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