Apple Daily apologised to its readers for not living up to their expectations and urged them to take care in its final publication on Thursday.
Staff, meanwhile, expressed mixed emotions, with one calling on supporters to keep the faith.
The final edition of the now-defunct pro-democracy paper featured on its front-page an Apple Daily staff member waving a phone in response to supporters gathered outside Next Digital’s building in Tseung Kwan O.
The headline read “Hong Kongers bid a painful farewell in the rain, ‘we support Apple Daily.’”
In a farewell note penned by its former associate publisher Chan Pui-man, the paper said it had to make the painful call to say goodbye out of concerns for the safety of its workers and manpower considerations.
It also paid tribute to its editorial staff for persevering until the end to complete the final edition of the newspaper and its website operations.
Chan, who resigned from her post following her arrest by national security police, called on readers to take care, while expressing her wish for her detained colleagues to be released soon.
Apple Daily’s abrupt end came a week after Chan and four of her senior colleagues were rounded up by national security officers and assets of the parent, Next Digital, were frozen by the Hong Kong government.
A writer was also arrested on the day that Apple Daily’s announced that it was ceasing operations.
The newspaper’s chief executive, Cheung Kim-hung, and editor-in-chief, Ryan Law, are in custody after being charged with collusion with foreign forces.
Some staff had decided to stay until the company’s last moments. Bryan Chan was one of them.
“Maybe because we had expectations of the end, so for me it’s not very sad,” he said.
“I watched the newspapers printing, [being] given out, that’s it, still fight on,” he added.
Bryan Chan had arrived in Mong Kok on a company shuttle with several other colleagues after midnight to the cheers of a crowd queuing up outside a newspaper stand to buy Apple Daily copies.
“Actually I have no regret about this, we fought until the end, and we’re glad that many Hong Kong people still support us,” he said.
Bryan Chan, a journalist who has been in the news sector for nine years, was a subeditor for Apple Daily’s local real-time news department.
He said he treasured the freedom he enjoyed in his 2.5 years with Apple Daily.
“When I worked in other media, they have some kind of red lines Apple Daily also had some red lines but not that type, I felt free in it.”
“They let me argue with my boss, I think it’s not easy in any kind of industry,” he recalled when asked about the most memorable thing about Apple Daily.
He said he had yet to decide whether to stay in the media sector, but he was not ready to give up yet.
“But we have to face the fact, Hong Kong is not that easy already, we’ll fight but doesn’t mean we can succeed or do anything more."
Take care and don't give up hope: Apple Daily staff
2021-06-24 HKT 08:14
The final edition of the new defunct pro-democracy media outlet featured on its front-page an Apple Daily staff member waving a phone in response to supporters gathered outside Next Digital’s building in Tseung Kwan O. Photo: RTHK
A group of Apple Daily workers went to gate of their headquarters in Tseung Kwan O to thank their supporters. Photo: RTHK
Bryan Chan speaks to Joanne Wong
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