(HONG KONG) LATEST: Apple Daily largest pro-democracy paper has announced its closure, in a blow to media freedom in the city #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.24: We published an article about the publications offices that were raided last week over allegations that several reports had breached a controversial national security law:

#AceDailyNews recently reported that Apple Daily was rumoured closure on Wednesday BBC China & Asia confirmed thats its pro-democracy paper has CLOSED ITS DOORS in a another nail in the coffin of press freedom

Apple Daily logo
After 26 years, Apple Daily will shut down

Company-linked assets worth HK$18m ($2.3m; £1.64m) were later frozen. Police also detained its chief editor and five other executives. 

The tabloid has been critical of the Hong Kong and Chinese leadership.

Its founder Jimmy Lai is already in jail on a string of charges.

Board members said said in a statement that the 26-year old paper would publish its last edition “no later than Saturday” and that the digital version would go offline no later than 11:59 on Saturday evening. 

The announcement also thanked the readers for their “loyal support” as well as its journalists, staff and advertisers. 

Mark Simon, a close adviser of Jimmy Lai, told the BBC that police had disrupted a board meeting earlier on Wednesday and arrested one journalist. 

“We are already closing to be honest, but they still had to show up and to make an arrest,” he said. “[The police wanted to] influence the outcome of the board meeting… they wanted to make sure [Apple Daily] closes quickly.”

It later emerged that a 55-year-old man, identified as an Apple Daily columnist, had been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to collude with a foreign country or foreign forces, local media reports said. 

EPAAfter last week’s raid, the paper sold record numbers

Last Thursday, some 500 police officers raided the publication’s newsroom, saying its reports had breached the city’s controversial national security law.

In a press briefing following the raid, police accused the newspaper of publishing more than 30 articles calling on countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland China since 2019.

Police also arrested the editor-in-chief and four other executives at their homes and froze assets owned by three companies linked to Apple Daily – Apple Daily Limited, Apple Daily Printing Limited and AD internet Limited.

The paper then said it only had enough cash to continue normal operations for “several weeks”.

Jimmy Lai, the paper’s founder, is currently in jail for a series of charges, including participating in an unauthorised assembly in 2019.

The media tycoon had been one of the most prominent supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

In his last interview with the BBC before he was sentenced to jail, he said he would not give in to intimidation.Jimmy Lai: The Hong Kong billionaire becomes emotional as he faces prison

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Jun.24: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#apple-daily, #hong-kong, #lai

(HONG KONG) LATEST: Apple Daily Pro-Democracy Paper rumoured to close in days after raid by police officers and removal of material #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.22: Authorities last week froze HK$18m ($2.3m; £1.64m) of assets owned by three companies linked to Apple Daily:

#AceDailyNews reported that HK sends 500 officers to raid pro-democracy paper the other day as Pro-democracy paper Apple Daily could be forced to shut down in a “matter of days”, said an adviser of the paper’s jailed founder Jimmy Lai and there is a rush to buy Apple Daily after police raid

A supporter of two executives from Hong Kong's pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper, chief editor Ryan Law and CEO Cheung Kim-hung, holds up a copy of the newspaper during a protest outside court in Hong Kong on June 19, 2021.

Mark Simon told the BBC that the paper could “do nothing while none of its bank accounts are functioning”.

Apple Daily, a well-read tabloid, is frequently critical of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese leadership.

“If you don’t have money you can’t order services. Most importantly, you can’t promise to pay people when you don’t have access to the cash to cover those expenses. That’s illegal in Hong Kong,” said Mr Simon.

“The paper is still on the news stands today but it is only a matter of days before it won’t be there unless its bank accounts are unfrozen.”

The paper’s publisher, Next Digital, is holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss the paper’s future.

Apple Daily had on Sunday said it only had enough cash to continue normal operations for “several weeks”

The Hong Kong paper that pushed the boundary

What has happened to Apple Daily?

Last Thursday, some 500 police officers raided the offices of Apple Daily in Hong Kong, saying its reports had breached the national security law.

Police also arrested the editor-in-chief and four other executives at their homes and froze HK$18m ($2.3m; £1.64m) of assets owned by three companies linked to Apple Daily – Apple Daily Limited, Apple Daily Printing Limited and AD internet Limited. 

Photos published online by Apple Daily showed police going through reporters’ computers.

In a statement, police said their warrant “covered the power of searching and seizure of journalistic materials”.

In a press briefing later that day, police said that Apple Daily had published more than 30 articles calling on countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland China since 2019. 

Jimmy Lai, the paper’s founder, is currently in jail for a series of charges, including participating in an unauthorised assembly in 2019.

Who is Jimmy Lai?

Lai is one of the most prominent supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Jimmy Lai: The Hong Kong billionaire becomes emotional as he faces prison

Estimated to be worth more than $1bn (£766m), he made his initial fortune in the clothing industry and later ventured into media and founded Next Digital.

In May, authorities froze assets belonging to Lai, including his bank accounts and his stake of 71.26% in Next Digital – estimated to be worth $45m. 

Banking giants HSBC and Citibank were also sent letters by Hong Kong’s security chief, who threatened up to seven years’ jail for any dealings with Mr Lai’s accounts in the city. 

In his last interview with the BBC before he was sentenced to jail, he said he would not give in to intimidation.

“If they can induce fear in you, that’s the cheapest way to control you and the most effective way and they know it. The only way to defeat the way of intimidation is to face up to fear and don’t let it frighten you,” he said.

How has China cracked down on Hong Kong dissent?

The national security law was introduced in 2020 in response to massive pro-democracy protests that swept the city state the previous year.

It essentially reduced Hong Kong’s judicial autonomy and made it easier to punish demonstrators. It criminalises secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces with the maximum sentence life in prison.

Beijing said the law would target “sedition” and bring stability, but critics have said it violates the agreement under which Britain handed back Hong Kong to China in 1997.

Since the law was enacted in June, more than 100 people have been arrested under its provisions, including Lai.

Reporting by the BBC’s Peter Hoskins

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#apple-daily, #hong-kong, #lai, #pro-democracy

(HONG KONG) Court Report: Pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for participating in an unauthorised assembly in 2019 #AceNewsDesk

#AceNewsReport – June.01: He will serve part of his new sentence consecutively, meaning Mr Lai faces a total of 20 months in jail: The verdict comes as mainland China is increasingly cracking down on Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms:

HONG KONG: ‘Jimmy Lai jailed again for pro-democracy protests and at 73, he is currently already serving time for participating in other demonstrations that year’

File photo of Jimmy Lai
Mr Lai faces a total of 20 months in jail

Lai is among 10 prominent activists who were sentenced on Friday for participating in an unlawful assembly on 1 October 2019. 

Other activists include Figo Chan, Leung Kwok-hung, known as “Long Hair”, and Lee Cheuk-yan – who were sentenced to 18 months in jail. Leung and Lee are currently both in jail and will also serve their sentences consecutively. 

At the sentencing on Friday, Judge Amanda Woodcock said she found claims by some of the defendants that their march on 1 October would be peaceful to be “naïve and unrealistic”, according to a Reuters report.

The protests on China’s national day saw major clashes between protesters and police, with the police chief later calling it “one of Hong Kong’s most violent and chaotic days”.

The tycoon faces at least two other charges imposed under the country’s new national security law, which can carry a maximum term of life in prison: The crackdown on HK’s only public broadcaster

Lai is one of the most prominent persons to be arrested under the law, which criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. 

It makes it easier to punish protesters, and reduces Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Who is Jimmy Lai?

Lai is one of the most prominent supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Jimmy Lai: The Hong Kong billionaire becomes emotional as he faces prison

Estimated to be worth more than $1bn (£766m), he made his initial fortune in the clothing industry and later ventured into media and founded Next Digital.

Next Digital publishes Apple Daily, a well-read tabloid which is frequently critical of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese leadership.

Earlier this month, authorities froze assets belonging to Lai, including his bank accounts and his stake of 71.26% in Next Digital – estimated to be worth $45m (£31m). 

Banking giants HSBC and Citibank were also sent letters by Hong Kong’s security chief, who threatened up to seven years’ jail for any dealings with Lai’s accounts in the city. 

In his last interview with the BBC before he was sentenced to jail, he said he would not give in to intimidation.

“If they can induce fear in you, that’s the cheapest way to control you and the most effective way and they know it. The only way to defeat the way of intimidation is to face up to fear and don’t let it frighten you,” he said.

What’s the background to this?

Britain handed back Hong Kong to China in 1997, and the Basic Law was created under the handover agreement under the “one country, two systems” principle.

This is supposed to protect certain freedoms for Hong Kong: freedom of assembly and speech, an independent judiciary and some democratic rights – freedoms that no other part of mainland China has.

But fears that this model was being eroded led to huge pro-democracy protests in 2019.

Some protests turned violent and in 2020, China introduced the national security law in the territory.

Beijing said the law would target “sedition” and bring stability. Since the law has been enacted in June, around 100 people have been arrested.

#AceNewsDesk report ….Published: June.01: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#court, #demonstrations, #hong-kong, #lai, #protests