Freeze order on Apple printing factory

Top News | Sophie Hui 16 Sep 2021

Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung has issued a freezing order to the defunct Apple Daily's printing premises which have been tied to national security offenses.

Tang, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Legislative Council meeting, said he issued the freezing order yesterday morning for Apple Daily Printing Ltd's printing factory in Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate in accordance with the national security law's implementation rules.

"Basically, under the freezing order, they're not entitled to deal with that property except with a license from us," Tang said.

He said the main reason to freeze the premises is because the printing factory is an asset related to national security offenses and the company should be aware of why it is prosecuted and why its assets got frozen.

"This company has been prosecuted for collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security. We could make the prosecution, showing that we already have relevant evidence," Tang said.

Apple Daily Printing Ltd was sued by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp in High Court on Tuesday.

HKSTP requested the court to declare that Apple Daily Printing Ltd violated the terms of a contract signed with the plaintiff in 1999 for the land at Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate and for it to empty the premises and return the site.

HKSTP also requested the court to declare that the company's notice of voluntary return of the land last month was invalid and ban the company from handing over the site to a third party.

It also demanded that Apple Daily Printing Ltd to compensate its losses.

Apple Daily ceased its online operation on June 23 and printed its last edition on June 24 after authorities froze HK$18 million of assets of Apple Daily Ltd, Apple Daily Printing Ltd and the AD Internet as part of a national security investigation.

At least 14 people related to the media outlet have been arrested or charged so far, including its 73-year-old founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, who was charged with colluding with foreign forces as well as conspiracy to defraud. Lai is already serving a 20-month sentence in jail for his role in other unauthorized assemblies.

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