Apple Daily: Hong Kong pro-democracy tabloid to close by Saturday

1 month ago 14
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Announcement comes after police arrested another employee on allegations of violating Hong Kong’s national security law.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily will stop operating no later than Saturday, according to its publisher, after national security police arrested another employee of the besieged newspaper.

The end of the popular 26-year-old tabloid, which mixes pro-democracy discourse with racy celebrity gossip and investigations of those in power, has escalated alarm over media freedom and other rights in the Chinese-ruled city.

In a statement on its website on Wednesday, Next Digital said the decision to close the newspaper, which employs about 600 journalists, was taken “due to the current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong”.

Cable TV and Now TV reported the paper’s last edition may be published as soon as Thursday.

Police last week froze assets of companies linked to the newspaper and arrested five executives. On Wednesday, it arrested a columnist on suspicion of conspiring to collude with a foreign country or foreign forces.

Authorities have said dozens of Apple Daily pieces may have violated the security law, the first instance of authorities taking aim at media articles under the legislation.

Rights groups, media organisations and Western governments have criticised last week’s raid of the Apple Daily newsroom by about 500 officers and seizure of journalistic materials on national security grounds.

Apple Daily has come under increasing pressure since its tycoon owner and staunch Beijing critic, Jimmy Lai, was arrested last year under the contentious legislation.

Lai, whose assets have also been frozen under the security law, is already serving a prison sentence for taking part in unauthorised assemblies.

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