Hong Kong pro-democracy paper unable to pay employees after asset freeze, says aide

  • Apple Every day warned that it might not be capable of pay employees after the federal government froze its belongings.
  • The newspaper is vital of the Chinese language authorities.
  • Proprietor Jimmy Lai was arrested and faces fees of beneath the nationwide safety regulation.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Apple Every day newspaper warned on Monday it’s unable to pay employees and is at imminent danger of closure after the federal government froze the corporate’s belongings utilizing a sweeping new nationwide safety regulation.

Apple Every day has lengthy been a thorn in Beijing’s facet, with unapologetic help for town’s pro-democracy motion and caustic criticism of China’s authoritarian leaders.

WATCH | Hong Kong police raid pro-democracy newspaper Apple Every day, arrest 5

Its proprietor Jimmy Lai is in jail and was among the many first to be charged beneath the safety regulation after its imposition in 2020. Its chief editor and CEO have been detained and its funds frozen.

Mark Simon, an aide to Lai, stated the freeze order by town’s safety chief final week had crippled the newspaper’s capacity to do enterprise.

“Our drawback at Apple Every day just isn’t that we do not have funds, we have now $50 million within the financial institution,” he informed CNN.

“Our drawback is the Secretary of Safety and the police is not going to allow us to pay our reporters, they won’t allow us to pay our employees, and they won’t allow us to pay our distributors. They’ve locked up our accounts.”

Life sentence

Lam Man-chung, government chief editor of Apple Every day, stated that the media group’s board was assembly on Monday.

Lai, 73, is in jail for attending democracy protests in 2019. He faces a life sentence if convicted of nationwide safety crimes.

Final Thursday, greater than 500 cops raided the paper’s newsroom and arrested 5 executives over a collection of articles that police stated referred to as for worldwide sanctions.

Two of these executives – chief editor Ryan Legislation and CEO Cheung Kim-hung – have been charged with “colluding” with overseas forces to undermine China’s nationwide safety and had been remanded into custody over the weekend.

The operation was the primary time political beliefs and opinions revealed by a Hong Kong media outlet have triggered the safety regulation.

However it’s using the regulation’s highly effective monetary freezing instruments that appears set to completely put Apple Every day out of fee.

The regulation, written in Beijing and imposed on Hong Kong final June, permits authorities to freeze belongings of any particular person or firm within the worldwide enterprise hub that’s deemed to be a safety risk.

It doesn’t require a courtroom order.

Final month, Lai’s private belongings in Hong Kong and his media firm shares had been frozen.

Then on Thursday, Secretary for Safety John Lee stated an additional HK$18 million ($2.3 million) of Apple Every day’s firm belongings had now been blocked.

“These are all orders from principally the Secretary of Safety, we face a safety company we’re not dealing with courts,” Simon informed CNN.

Simon is himself needed by Hong Kong police on nationwide safety fees however left town final yr and has since relocated to the US.

In its personal reporting over the weekend, Apple Every day stated it was planning to ask Lee to unfreeze some cash so it could possibly pay some 700 staff.

If the applying is unsuccessful, they plan to go to courtroom, the paper added.

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