Hongkongers on Tuesday snapped up copies of Apple Daily to show their support for the pro-democracy newspaper after its founder Jimmy Lai was arrested and its headquarters raided by police the previous day.
In Admiralty, an owner of a newsstand who has been in the business for some 30 years said he had got 1,000 copies of Apple Daily on Tuesday, whereas he used to receive only dozens usually.
He said all he sold were copies of Apple Daily and others were not touched.
"Just have to show support to the last resort of freedom of speech in Hong Kong, because as far as I know, Apple Daily is the only newspaper that’s willing to tell the truth in Hong Kong,” said a man, who said he works in the area and bought a copy.
Asked when was the last time he bought a newspaper, the man said: “Ten years ago? No, I never bought one. Just to show support."
Some people were buying several copies of the paper. A student who said he was a part-time worker said he plans to give copies to his friends.
"I want to buy all of them, but I don’t think I can afford that so I just try my best and buy 10. Because I’m going to work, so I will just give it to my colleagues if they haven’t bought it or I just give out to random people,” he said.
Some buyers said they saw it as their way of showing their anger at Beijing.
“It’s a way to tell the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] government that we’re not afraid of you, and if you’re going to oppress us on the freedoms, we’re just going to fight back harder," said a young woman.
"I don’t know what I can do, but the simplest thing is that I can buy some newspaper,” she said.
Dozens of people had queued for the paper in the working-class neighbourhood of Mong Kok as early as 2am.
"What the police did yesterday interfered with press freedom brutally," said 45-year-old Kim Yau as she bought a copy.
"All Hongkongers with a conscience have to support Hong Kong today, support Apple Daily."
The daily had livestreamed its production process overnight from its newsroom and thousands of people had logged in to watch.
By the time the first copies reached shops in Mong Kok, there was a queue of people waiting to buy them.
Apple Daily also said on its social media platform overnight that while its daily print number was around 70,000 copies two weeks ago, they printed 350,000 copies on Monday night to meet demand.
But in a message posted at 8am, the daily said it was printing another 200,000 copies after they were sold out in many districts.
"Apple Daily must fight on," the front-page headline read.
"Yesterday will not be the darkest day for Apple Daily as the subsequent nuisances, suppression and arrests will continue to induce fear in us," it wrote in an editorial.
"Nevertheless, the prayers and encouragement of many readers and writers make us believe that as long as there are readers, there will be writers, and that Apple Daily shall certainly fight on."
Shares of Next Media had soared to record levels on Monday as the raid was going on after some pro-democracy groups called for support of the paper. The shares initially fell when the arrest of its founder Jimmy Lai broke, but rose 300 percent at one point in the afternoon session after the buying started. (RTHK, Reuters)
Public snap up copies of defiant Apple Daily
2020-08-11 HKT 10:54
Timmy Sung reports
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