Apple Daily may be closed “days later” after the freezing of Hong Kong assets | Freedom of the press news

The company ‘s adviser says that the operation under security law means that it can not access about $ 50 million to pay staff and vendors.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Apple Daily will be shut down “in a few days” after authorities used China’s national security law to freeze the company’s assets when it arrested the newspaper’s editor and four other directors, a jailed adviser, Reuters reported on Monday. said the rich Jim Imi Lai.

Speaking on the phone from the United States, Mark Simon said the company was no longer able to access its funds and would hold a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.

“We thought we would be able to make it to the end of the month,” Simon told the news agency. “It simply came to our notice then. In fact, it is a matter of days. “

The closing of his commentary signal is imminent even after Apple Daily said on Sunday that the freezing of its assets left the newspaper with cash for “several weeks” for normal operations.

The news comes two days after 47-year-old editor Ryan Lowe and 59-year-old CEO Cheung Kim-han were released on bail on charges of collaborating with foreign forces under security law.

Apple Daily Editor-in-Chief Ryan Lowe Returns to Jail After Arrested Saturday [Lam Yik/Reuters]

Three other top executives were also arrested last Thursday 500 policemen broke into the newspaper offices In a case condemned by Western states and human rights groups, the UN ombudsman.

The three were released on bail.

Simon told Reuters that it was impossible to carry out banking operations.

“The sellers tried to deposit money into our accounts, but were rejected. We can not bank. Some sellers tried to do this as a favor. “We just wanted to find out, but it was rejected,” he said.

Earlier, speaking to CNN, Simon said that the company has about $ 50 million, but is unable to raise funds.

The publisher came under a lot of pressure after its owner, My Im Lai, was arrested last August under national security law, which meant it was attacking the company’s headquarters for the first time. Lai, 73, is currently in prison and is being tried under national security law. Authorities in May too froze some assets Belonging to a longtime Beijing critic, some of his assets have also been frozen.

Three companies affiliated with Apple Daily are also being prosecuted for collaborating with a foreign country, with authorities freezing $ 18 million ($ 2.3 million) in assets.

China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong last June, saying it needed to restore “stability” in the region, which was rocked in 2019 by mass protests, some of which turned violent.

In: broadly formulated law criminalizes actions such as sabotage, insurgency, collusion with foreign powers; secession came into force with possible life imprisonment.

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