After a police raid to investigate violations of the new national security law, the newspaper of the jailed tycoon Li Zhiying was closed in June.

Hong Kong media group Next Digital Ltd stated that its goal is to enter the liquidation process and its board of directors has resigned to facilitate this process.

Next Digital is owned by imprisoned tycoon Li Zhiying. It is the publisher of Apple Daily, a popular democratic newspaper. It was raided by police in its newsroom to investigate whether certain articles violated Beijing’s national security laws introduced in Hong Kong. Later, the newspaper closed in June. last year.

As part of the national security investigation, the company’s assets were frozen and its shares were suspended from trading on June 17.

Next Digital stated in a document submitted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange later on Sunday that orderly liquidation will be in the best interests of shareholders, creditors, employees and other stakeholders.

The company stated that Ye Yujian has resigned as non-executive director and chairman, while Louis Gordon Krovitz, Mark Lambert Clifford and Eric Lin have resigned as independent non-executive directors. Position.

The company’s chief executive officer was arrested in a raid related to a security law violation investigation, and its chief financial officer resigned in July.

Next Digital stated that it hopes that the resignation of the remaining board members will result in the Hong Kong government allowing the liquidator to authorize directors forbidden to approve payments, including creditors and former employees.

It also stated that it hopes that the liquidator can complete value-creating transactions, thereby generating funds that are beneficial to creditors.

Atmosphere of fear

The company said that the Hong Kong government has never indicated which articles published by Apple Daily are suspected of violating national security laws. This uncertainty has created an atmosphere of fear and led to the resignation of many people, including those responsible for regulatory compliance of listed companies. .

“We have observed that although there was no trial and conviction, incidents affecting the company and its employees occurred after invoking the National Security Law,” it said. “According to this new law, companies can be forced into liquidation without court intervention.”

“As the Apple Daily has often observed, when freedom of speech is deprived, Hong Kong people have a collective memory of life elsewhere: no other rights are safe,” it said.

Critics of the National Security Act introduced in June 2020 stated that the law has been used to suppress dissent and erode the basic freedoms of the former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, including media freedom.

The authorities deny that Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms, including the media, have been eroded, but said that actions that endanger China’s national security have crossed the red line. Security officials stated that enforcement actions are based on evidence and have nothing to do with personal background or occupation.


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