Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper says it may shut down

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper says it may shut down

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper says it may shut down

Apple Daily said in an article on its website on Monday that if its board decides on Friday to cease operations of the newspaper, its website could stop publishing as soon as early Saturday morning, and Saturday's print edition of the newspaper would be its last.

The police operation against Apple Daily has drawn criticism from the US and Britain, which say Hong Kong and Chinese authorities are targeting the city's promised freedoms. On Wednesday, it arrested a columnist on suspicion of conspiring to collude with a foreign country or foreign forces.

Three other executives were also arrested last week when 500 police officers raided the newspaper's offices, drawing condemnation from Western nations, global rights groups and the UN spokesperson for human rights.

He is already in jail after being convicted of unlawful-assembly charges for participating in protests.

Apple Daily said in an article on Sunday that it may challenge the decision to freeze its assets in court if the city's Security Bureau denies its request.

Under the new law, the burden is now placed on the defendant to prove they will not break the law if released on bail.

Hong Kong's Judiciary describes trial by jury as one of the most important features of the city's legal system, a common law tradition created to offer defendants additional protection against the possibility of authorities overreaching their power.

Owned and operated by the brash apparel magnate Jimmy Lai, Apple Daily made little effort to hide its editorial stance supporting democracy and Hong Kong's continued autonomy, which was guaranteed for 50 years under the handover agreement signed by Britain and China.

The government campaign against Apple Daily, which included raids of its newsroom by hundreds of police officers, caps months of scrutiny of Hong Kong's once-vibrant independent media landscape.

The city's chief executive, Carrie Lam, warned in a press conference Tuesday that news organizations must not "subvert" the government and urged journalists to conduct only "normal journalistic work". HSBC declined to comment.

The newspaper has come under increasing pressure since owner and Beijing critic Lai, who is now in jail, was arrested under the national security law last August and has since had some of his assets frozen.

Mr Simon said some reporters had received threatening phone calls from unknown sources.

Tong, 24, was arrested on July 1, 2020, hours after the enactment of the national security law, which punishes what China deems as subversion, secessionism, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

'After all this is said and done, the business community is going to look up and recognise that a man's company was gutted and stolen by a communist regime in Hong Kong, ' he said.

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