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Assets Frozen Under Security Law, Hong Kong Daily Fears Closure

The company, whose assets were frozen under a national security law, said it may shut in a matter of days. 

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Apple Daily, whose assets were frozen under a national security law, said it may shut in a matter of days. 
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Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong, has said that it could go out of publication in a matter of days after the company’s assets were frozen under a national security law, Reuters reported.

Owned by Jimmy Lai, now in prison, Next Digital, which publishes the 26-year-old newspaper, said it would hold a meeting on Monday, 21 June, to discuss the way forward after its credit lies were frozen.

“We thought we’d be able to make it to the end of the month. It’s just getting harder and harder. It’s essentially a matter of days.”
Mark Simon, Advisor to Jimmy Lai

The report also adds that vendors had tried to put money into the newspaper’s account, but it was rejected.

Meanwhile, the daily’s Chief Editor Ryan Law and Chief Executive Cheung Kim-hung were denied bail on 19 June, after they were accused of colluding with a foreign country.

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Earlier, 500 police officers had raided the newspaper’s offices, when they had arrested three other executives. While the trio are under investigation, they were later released from police custody.

Addressing a press conference, Security Secretary John Lee had said that police action on the daily was only meant for those who use journalism as a ‘tool’ to endanger national security.

Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Commissioner’s office said that the national security law protected press freedom, while warning external forced to “keep their hands off Hong Kong.”

A Reuters report in May had revealed that Hong Kong’s security chief had sent letters to Lai, HSBC and Citibank, threatening them with seven years in prison if they had any dealings with the billionaire's accounts in the city.

The newspaper, which has about 600 journalists, has been under pressure after its owner Lai, who’s critical of Beijing, was arrested and subsequently jailed under the national security act in August 2020.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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