One Media Hong Kong announced a trading suspension at 9:00 a.m. today (17) pending the issuance of a statement regarding the freezing of the assets of group founder Lai Chi-ying by the Security Bureau. As for when to resume trading, the announcement did not specify.
Hong Kong Secretary for Security Lee Ka-chiu announced on the 14th, according to the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law, the freezing of Next Media founder Lai Chi-ying’s 71% of the shares of Next Media, estimated at more than 300 million Hong Kong dollars, Lai Chi-ying owned three private companies bank accounts property was also frozen.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association then issued a statement pointing out that this move undermines the rule of law and Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center. HKJA Chairman Yeung Kin-hing believes that recent Hong Kong government officials have repeatedly criticized Apple Daily without naming it, and official media commentaries have called for Apple to be banned, so this move by the authorities involves political factors that not only suppress Next Media, but also create fear in the journalism industry.
One Media CEO Zhang Jianhong said that the incident would not affect the operation and funding finances of One Media and Apple Daily.
However, on the same day, Taiwan’s Apple Daily announced without warning that the paper would cease publication as of May 18.
Benedict Rogers, founder of the British human rights organization Hong Kong Watch, argued that the international community should use the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to sanction officials involved in the incident and respond appropriately.
After the implementation of the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law, the Hong Kong Police National Security Division charged Lai Chi-ying with “colluding with foreign countries or forces outside the country to endanger national security,” and Lai is currently in custody and facing justice.