Hong Kong’s embattled pro-democracy newspaper will shut down “no later” than Saturday, its publisher Next Digital said on Wednesday (June 23), Reuters reported.
The announcement comes just days after a close adviser to the paper’s founder, Jimmy Lai, said it could shut down in a “matter of days” due to the freezing of its bank accounts and other financial assets.
Previously, its newsroom was raided by around 500 police officers, who seized computers, hard disks and other journalistic materials from the office.
The Beijing-imposed national security law was cited for the first time in the city.
The widely-circulated 26-year-old tabloid is often critical of the Hong Kong authorities and the central government in Beijing.
Following the raid, five of the paper’s top executives, including its editor-in-chief, were arrested on the morning of June 17.
If convicted under the national security law, they could face life imprisonment.
The police had cited the publication for more than 30 unspecified reports that they claimed were responsible for the imposition of foreign sanctions against Hong Kong, as evidence of foreign collusion.
The reports were mostly commentaries and op-eds, including many written by the paper’s founder Jimmy Lai.
Police confirmed that they date back to 2019, before the non-retroactive law came into effect in June last year, AFP reported.
Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong has hailed the arrests as “an act of justice”.
Apple Daily readers had expressed their support for the tabloid and opposition to the government’s move by snapping up copies of the paper, and saying they would continue to support the paper as long as it remains standing.
Top image via Apple Daily