mandag 21. juni 2021

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily could shut at weekend unless accounts are unblocked

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper and website could shut down this weekend if authorities do not agree to the board’s request to unfreeze its assets, after the arrest of its senior editors and executives last week. According to various local reports on Monday afternoon, an internal memo said Next Digital, Apple Daily’s parent company, would seek restored access to its accounts so it can pay staff, but that if this did not happen by Friday it would make a decision to stop publication of the pro-democracy title.

The potential end of the 26-year-old paper comes after a police operation in which officers raided the homes of five executives, including Apple Daily’s editor-in-chief, Ryan Law, and arrested them under the national security law, before raiding the newsroom with an unprecedented warrant allowing the seizure of journalistic materials.

Police froze HK$18m (US$2.3m) in assets of three companies, Apple Daily Ltd, Apple Daily Printing Ltd and AD Internet Ltd. Mark Simon, a close adviser of the paper’s jailed owner, Jimmy Lai, said an additional $500m was in the locked accounts.