Apple Daily pulls plug on English web edition as paper faces imminent closure

Apple Daily, one of Hong Kong’s biggest newspapers, could shut down altogether come Saturday if authorities do not unfreeze their assets. Photo: Apple Daily
Apple Daily, one of Hong Kong’s biggest newspapers, could shut down altogether come Saturday if authorities do not unfreeze their assets. Photo: Apple Daily

Pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily pulled the plug on its English website Tuesday morning, the latest development to signal the outspoken outlet’s looming end.

In a final piece headlined “Dear readers,” the website bid farewell to its readership.

“This concludes the updates from Apple Daily English. Thank you for your support,” the terse statement on the website, which had only been running for a year, read.

Apple Daily English's final farewell to its readers Tuesday morning. Photo: Apple Daily English
Photo: Apple Daily

The paper’s financial news desk also ceased its operations Tuesday midnight, just hours after the outlet aired its last nightly live news program to an audience of over 300,000.

“Thank you to all the anchors, editors and behind-the-scenes crew for their hard work, accomplishing an impossible task at Apple Daily that echoes the era,” the news anchor said. She also thanked viewers for their support since the program’s launch last October.

The string of goodbyes comes less than a week after police arrested five Apple Daily executives under the national security law, accusing the paper of foreign collusion by calling for countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and China.

Authorities also froze HK$18 million (US$2.3 million) of Apple Daily’s assets. Unable to pay its staff and vendors, the company said Monday that it may be forced to wind up in “days,” publishing its last print edition Saturday if the funds are not unfrozen.

Hong Kong Journalists Association Chairman Ronson Chan told RTHK that many Apple Daily reporters have already resigned.

Founded in 1995, the splashy tabloid is known for its mix of bold political coverage and scandalous reporting of celebrity gossip. The paper marked its 26th anniversary last week.

Apple Daily’s founder, Jimmy Lai, has been in jail since last December. He is the most high-profile person in the city to be charged under Beijing’s national security law.

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