Hong Kong’s Apple Daily shuts down as police target editors

Domestic News

With its founder in jail, bank accounts frozen, and editorial staff at risk of arrest, the blows fell fast and hard against the territory’s 26-year-old pro-democracy tabloid.

apple daily and other targets of hong kong's national security law, depicted in hand cuffs
Illustration by Derek Zheng

Last month, a Hong Kong court extended the jail time for media tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英 Lí Zhìyīng) to 20 months for charges under the national security law imposed on the territory by Beijing.

  • Last week, the newsroom of his pro-democracy tabloid, Apple Daily, was raided by 500 police officers, resulting in two executives being charged with “colluding with foreign powers.”
  • Over the weekend, Apple Daily and its corporate parent, Next Media, learned that their bank accounts would be frozen.

With no access to funds, and an eviction notice from its government-owned headquarters, the newspaper today announced that it would shut down with a note to subscribers, wishing them “Good luck, and goodbye.”

  • Apple Daily has printed 1 million copies of its final issue, dated Thursday, June 24.
  • The newspaper also shut down its website and social media accounts.
  • Apple Daily’s much smaller Taiwanese edition will continue to publish online — the Taiwanese print version ceased publication in May for financial reasons.

Hong Kong police have also arrested one of Apple Daily’s lead opinion writers on national security charges.

  • Also today: A protester who crashed his motorcycle into police during large-scale protests in 2020 stood trial today, “the first among the more than 100 people in Hong Kong who have been arrested under the sweeping new” national security rules, according to the New York Times.

Many Hongkongers were emotional (see, for example, this short video of well-wishers outside Apple Daily’s building or this view of people lining up to buy the final edition). Exiled activist Nathan Law (羅冠聰 Luó Guāncōng) tweeted:

Most of you may not understand how dreadful the closure of Apple Daily means to Hong Kong. Not only to its journalistic landscape, but also to the people and the city itself…

The parent company of Apple Daily, Next Digital Limited, is a listed company. The government forced a listed company to close itself in a matter of days…

The paper with a history of 26 years is gone. The companies and the arrestees are not even trialed yet.

See also in the Guardian: ‘The blackest day’: Apple Daily’s demise comes as no surprise.