Dissident newspaper in HK ceases operations days after arrest of its officials

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A dissident newspaper in Hong Kong, Apple Daily, announced its closure on Wednesday, after the government arrested its executives and frozen their assets last week under a new national security law.

The newspaper’s publisher, Next Digital, said in a statement that the board of directors has decided to shut down the paper as of Sunday.

“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 later than 11:59 p.m. on Saturday 26 June 2021,” it stated.

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

Earlier, the company’s largest magazine, Next Magazine, also announced that it will end operations.

The development came after Hong Kong authorities arrested another key member of the newspaper on Wednesday.

Last week, on Thursday, Hong Kong police arrested five executives of the daily, for alleged foreign collusion.

The daily is owned by the media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, who was arrested last year and accused of multiple charges under the new National Security Law. Nine others were also arrested under the same law.

The police action came after China implemented its national security law in the semi-autonomous region on July 1, 2020.

The law criminalizes anti-China sentiments in the region, which continued to serve as a vibrant economic hub after the UK handed it over to Beijing in 1997 under a vow that it would enjoy a “high level of autonomy” for 50 years.

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