Men armed with sledgehammers barged into a printing house for the Hong Kong edition of the Epoch Times, a far-right newspaper critical of Beijing, in the early hours of Monday.
CCTV footage released by the paper showed four men storming into the printing plant, smashing computers and breaking equipment. They also tossed what appeared to be a soil-cement mixture into the printing machines.
A worker who was there said that one of the men was carrying a bag with a knife inside, according to the Epoch Times. The gang yelled at her to get out of the way, screaming “don’t make me hurt you.”
The Epoch Times said in a report that it “strongly condemns” the destructive act carried out by pro-Beijing attackers, calling the incident an assault on Hong Kong’s press freedoms.
Police are investigating the incident as a criminal damage case. No arrests have been made as of Tuesday noon.
It’s not the first time the paper’s printing plant has been targeted. In November 2019, during the height of the city’s anti-extradition protests, masked men set fire to the printing press.
The media outlet is headquartered in New York City and has significant global reach, publishing in 21 languages online. It has local newspaper editions in the US, Canada and Hong Kong, among other places.
Backed by the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement whose followers in China are persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party, the Epoch Times is outspokenly anti-China and supportive of the Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
It is also known for peddling far-right conspiracies and vaccine misinformation, and has been described as a “pro-Trump media empire.”
Earlier this year, the Epoch Times‘ Hong Kong YouTube channel was briefly suspended amid the platform’s crackdown on US elections misinformation.
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