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Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, symbol of pro-democracy movement, to close

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, symbol of pro-democracy movement, to close

Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy tabloid targeted by a national security police raid last week, is to close and will print its final edition on Saturday, the company board has announced.

The paper and its activist founder, Jimmy Lai, had become symbols of the pro-democracy movement, and a thorn in the side of Hong Kong’s government and police.

Last week, police arrested five executives, including the editor-in-chief, Ryan Law, and the chief executive, Cheung Kim-hung, who were later charged, accused of colluding with foreign or external forces to endanger national security. Hundreds of officers raided the newsroom, seizing journalistic materials.

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, symbol of pro-democracy movement, to close

The accusations related to dozens of unspecified articles that police said called for foreign sanctions against the Hong Kong and Chinese governments. Police froze HK$18m (£1.66m) in assets of three companies, Apple Daily Ltd, Apple Daily Printing Ltd and AD Internet Ltd, and locked accounts containing more than $500m.

On Monday, the company said without the release of the funds they would be unable to pay staff or operating costs and would be forced to close. The decision was not expected until Friday, but the announcement on Wednesday followed an arrest that morning of the paper’s lead editorial writer, also under the national security law.

In a statement, Apple Daily said: “The board of directors of Next Digital Limited regrets to announce that due to the current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong, Apple Daily in its print form will come to an end no later than the last edition on Saturday 26 June 2021 and the digital version will no longer be accessible no later than 11:59pm on Saturday 26 June 2021.

“The company thanks our readers for their loyal support and our journalists, staff and advertisers for their commitment over the past 26 years.”


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