Hongkongers queued in the rain Thursday to buy their final copies of pro-democracy paper Apple Daily, which printed its last edition after the authorities’ refusal to unfreeze their assets left it no choice but to shut down.
Lines formed at newsstands across the city as early as 1 am, with many purchasing multiple of the 1,000,000 copies the tabloid printed to cap its 26-year run.
“Hongkongers’ painful parting in the rain; We support Apple Daily,” the headline, laid over a picture of an umbrella-toting crowd outside the tabloid’s Tseung Kwan O headquarters, read.
I’m in Wan Chai in a queue with about 100 other people waiting to buy a copy of Apple Daily. Tried two stalls before here which had sold out but this is looking hopeful pic.twitter.com/v87E3NceVd
— 💉 Goose Lee 💉 (@Lee_Cobaj) June 24, 2021
By early morning, an online spreadsheet—consisting of information crowdsourced from media groups and online forums—had been created indicating which newsstands and convenience stores still had the newspaper available.
People scrambled to get their copy at multiple local news vendors, only to find out many had already sold out, many on Twitter said.
I went to five 7/11s & three newsstands in my neighbourhood this morning to try to buy a copy of Apple Daily – everywhere was sold out. People have started an anonymous google sheet updating places in Hong Kong where Apple Daily is still available: https://t.co/jjH7lTX0in pic.twitter.com/TpKzhR5Ql5
— Sue-Lin Wong 黄淑琳 (@suelinwong) June 24, 2021
Known for its brazen support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, Apple Daily has long been a thorn in the eyes of the city’s authorities. Last Thursday, national security police arrested the paper’s top executives, raided its headquarters and froze HK$18 million (US$2.3 million) in assets.
Less than a week later, Apple Daily announced that it would print its last edition and shut down its website for good. Its YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages have also been deleted.
Anonymous netizens have archived the paper’s articles in online databases, with one of them consisting of over 400,000 now-deleted articles, some dating back to 2016.
Apple Daily published its first edition 26 years ago on June 20, 1995.