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Hong Kong: pro-democracy Apple Daily can no longer

The pro-democracy Apple Daily in Hong Kong claimed on Monday that it could no longer pay its employees following the freezing of its assets under a national security law, which could very quickly force it to cease publication. .
For years, Apple Daily has displayed unwavering support for the pro-democracy movement and has not failed to sharply criticize the Chinese leadership.

Its owner, press mogul Jimmy Lai is currently in custody, sentenced to multiple prison terms for his involvement in pro-democracy protests in 2019.

He is also charged under the National Security Act, with offenses punishable by life imprisonment.

Mark Simon, an advisor to Mr. Lai living abroad, said the newspaper’s asset freeze was preventing it from continuing to operate.

This measure was ordered last week, a few hours after a search of the newspaper’s editorial staff and the arrest of five of its leaders.

“Our problem is not that we don’t have funds, we have 50 million dollars (42 million euros) in the bank,” he told CNN. “Our problem is that the Secretary in charge of Security and the police do not let us pay our journalists (…) our staff (…) and our suppliers. They blocked our accounts.”

Lam Man-chung, an editor who is not among those arrested, told AFP that a board of directors of the press group was to be held on Monday.

On June 17, more than 500 police officers raided the premises of the daily. They arrested five of its leaders over a series of articles which police said called for international sanctions.

Two officials of the daily, headline editor Ryan Law and managing director Cheung Kim-hung were indicted on Friday for “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.”

A Hong Kong court on Saturday refused their release on bail.

It is the first time that political opinions published by a Hong Kong news outlet have led to prosecution under the controversial law imposed by China in 2020 in an attempt to quell dissent in the former British colony. .

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