The pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily in Hong Kong, China’s semi-autonomous region, has not stopped talking. The newspaper has already stopped publishing in the face of government repression. Several journalists including the owner and the chief editor have been detained. This time Fung Wei-kong has been added to the list. He is an editor and columnist for the defunct Apple Daily. Fung was arrested at the Hong Kong airport on Sunday night, local time.
Police arrested Fung Wei-kong from Hong Kong Airport on Sunday night, Qatar-based Al-Jazeera reported on Monday. A statement from Hong Kong police said the arrests had been made. However, the police did not reveal the name of the detainee. It has just been said that the person arrested from the airport is 56 years old. He has been charged with conspiracy with a foreign power under the newly passed National Security Act. An investigation is underway.
However, the South China Morning Post and Citizen News reported that the detainee was Fung Wei-kong. He was detained at the airport under the National Security Act on his way from Hong Kong to the UK. The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) has condemned the arrest of a senior journalist. In a statement, the group said such repression of journalists was against freedom of speech and freedom of the media.
The most popular and oldest tabloid published in Chinese in Hong Kong is Apple Daily. The magazine had been published for about 26 years. The newspaper has long supported pro-democracy activists in Beijing. It was in talks for sharp criticism of the Chinese and Hong Kong administrations.
One blow after another hit Apple Daily. On the morning of June 17, Hong Kong police conducted an unprecedented search of the Apple Daily office. 500 members of the Hong Kong Police took part in it. The National Security Act arrested five people, including Ryan Law, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, and Chiwong Kim-hang, its chief executive.
At the time, police said, the Apple Daily had published at least 30 articles calling on various countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and China since 2019. Concerned people have been detained for this.
It was the first arrest under Hong Kong’s new national security law for publishing a report. The Apple Daily columnist was then arrested. The 55-year-old used to write a column in a newspaper called Li Ping. He has been accused of “conspiring with foreign powers”.
At the same time, the Hong Kong authorities confiscated the property of Apple Daily worth USD 2.3 million. Due to this, the newspaper fell into severe financial crisis. Authorities say the amount of cash they have will allow them to run for several weeks. After that the salaries and allowances of the employees will be stopped. In the face of the financial crisis, there are fears that its activities will be stopped. The newspaper was shut down last week due to the financial crisis.
In a message posted on their website on Wednesday, the newspaper’s owner, Next Digital, said authorities had decided to close all operations from midnight that day. The newspaper was shut down in the face of financial crisis due to confiscation of property by the government. The next day the latest issue of Apple Daily was published. The online version is also closed.
Despite the closure of Apple Daily in Hong Kong, the authorities of Next Digital have continued the online activities of Apple Daily in Taiwan. However, the publication of the printed issue of Apply Daily is closed. It has stopped publishing in Taiwan 17 years after its first publication.
Jimmy Lai is the sole owner of Apple and Apply Daily in Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively. The media tycoon in Hong Kong is known as a pro-democracy. Last year, police raided the Apple Daily’s Hong Kong office to arrest him for allegedly colluding with foreign powers. Like was arrested. He has been in jail since last December on various charges, including responsibility for taking part in pro-democracy protests.