, Hong Kong pro-democracy paper unable to pay staff after asset freeze: aide, The Nzuchi Times

Hong Kong pro-democracy paper unable to pay staff after asset freeze: aide

, Hong Kong pro-democracy paper unable to pay staff after asset freeze: aide, The Nzuchi Times

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper warned Monday it is unable to pay staff and is at imminent risk of closure after the government froze the company’s assets using a sweeping new national security law.

Apple Daily has long been a thorn in Beijing’s side, with unapologetic support for the city’s pro-democracy movement and caustic criticism of China’s authoritarian leaders.

Mark Simon, an aide to Lai, said the freeze order by the city’s security chief last week had crippled the newspaper’s ability to do business.

“Our problem is the Secretary of Security and the police will not let us pay our reporters, they will not let us pay our staff, and they will not let us pay our vendors. They have locked up our accounts.”

Last Thursday, more than 500 police officers raided the paper’s newsroom and arrested five executives over a series of articles that police said called for international sanctions.

The operation was the first time political views and opinions published by a Hong Kong media outlet have triggered the security law.

, Hong Kong pro-democracy paper unable to pay staff after asset freeze: aide, The Nzuchi Times

– Security crackdown –

It does not require a court order.

Then on Thursday, Secretary for Security John Lee said a further HK$18 million (US$2.3 million) of Apple Daily’s company assets had now been blocked.

Simon is himself wanted by Hong Kong police on national security charges but left the city last year and has since relocated to the United States.

If the application is unsuccessful, they plan to go to court, the paper added.

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