Following police raids and the arrest of executives, the pro-democracy Hong Kong daily Apple Daily appeared to be on the verge of shutting down for permanently by Saturday – a move that opponents say threatens the city’s position as a free and open society as Beijing tightens its hold.
On Monday, Mark Simon, an adviser to the newspaper’s jailed owner and outspoken Beijing critic Jimmy Lai, told Reuters that the newspaper would be forced to close “in a matter of days” after authorities froze access to the firm’s core operating capital, which was needed for staff wages and other expenses, on national security grounds.
The Apple Daily claimed in an internal message seen by Reuters that the board of its parent company, Next Media, would decide whether to continue by the end of the week.
“If the board decides not to operate on Friday, internet uploading will halt at 23:59 p.m. that day, and newspaper operations will end after publishing the June 26 edition.”
Management at Apple Daily and Next Digital could not be reached for comment. In an article published Tuesday morning, Apple’s financial news team stated that it had already stopped publishing online.