The Taiwan edition of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper has found a buyer who will retain most of its employees, the firm said Wednesday, with a promise to “speak out against any injustice.”
The popular news outlet Apply Daily was raided in Hong Kong last year after its newsroom was shut down and assets confiscated under the National Security Act imposed on the Chinese city of Beijing to quell dissent.
The Taiwanese version of it continues to operate as a financially independent subsidiary but stopped printing in May last year, 18 years after it was founded by imprisoned Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai.
Taiwan’s Apple Daily said in a statement on its website on Wednesday that it had “completed a transfer” and would announce the buyer later.
“Most of our colleagues will be transferred to the new employer and will be kept safe,” said IP Yut-kin, legal representative of the Taiwanese affiliate, adding in the statement that he would serve as “honorary chairman.”
“Looking back last year, our Hong Kong headquarters faced an unprecedented storm in the history of global news,” the statement said.
It added that after the assets of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily were frozen, funding for the Taiwan version was cut off.
“The real purpose of the Apple Daily cannot be forgotten. It will always speak out against any injustice to its readers,” it said.
Last year, the Hong Kong government took the rare step of applying to dissolve the paper’s parent company, Next Digital, saying it would be “expedient in the public interest.”
The High Court granted the government’s application in December after a brief hearing which was not challenged by the company.
Authorities in Hong Kong have gone to great lengths to curb press freedom as the city recovers in its own image in 2019 after massive and sometimes violent democracy protests.
National security allegations have been leveled against Lai and six former senior executives at the Apple Daily.