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‘Apple Daily’ to shut within days, says adviser to jailed HK tycoon Jimmy Lai

Reuters Hong Kong | Updated on June 21, 2021

Next Digital, publisher of the popular Hong Kong newspaper, to hold board meeting

Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities froze the company’s assets under a sweeping national security law, an adviser to jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai told Reuters on Monday.

Mark Simon, speaking by phone from the US, said Next Digital, publisher of the popular Hong Kong newspaper, will hold a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.

His comments signal the closure is imminent even after Apple Daily said on Sunday the freezing of its assets had left the newspaper with cash for “a few weeks” for normal operations."

Apple Daily editors arrested under Hong Kong security law

Collusion charge

The news comes two days after chief editor Ryan Law, 47, and chief executive Cheung Kim-hung, 59, were denied bail after being charged with collusion with a foreign country.

Three other executives were also arrested last Thursday when 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s offices in a case that has drawn condemnation from Western nations, global rights groups and the chief UN spokesperson for human rights.

The three have been released on bail.

Hong Kong tycoon gets 14-month jail term over 2019 protest

Banking operations hit

Simon told Reuters it had become impossible to conduct banking operations.

"Vendors tried to put money into our accounts and were rejected. We can’t bank. Some vendors tried to do that as a favour. We just wanted to find out and it was rejected,” he said.

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

Three companies related to Apple Daily are also being prosecuted for collusion with a foreign country and authorities have frozen HK$18 million ($2.3 million) of their assets.

Published on June 21, 2021

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