Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai’s views played a part in the now-defunct outlet’s editorial decisions, a former senior employee told the national security trial of her ex-boss.
Former associate publisher Chan Pui-man testified on Monday that Lai had asked her to “go big” on a speech by then-US consul general of Hong Kong, Kurt Tong, in 2019.
The court heard Chan, in response, told her former boss that the newspaper already had a full-page report on the speech earlier.
Questioned by Justice Alex Lee, one of three presiding national security judges, why she did not tell Lai outright that there was no need to do another report, Chan replied: “It’s an indirect way of telling him we already did [a report].
“Since the boss attached so much importance to this news, I did look and see if there were any follow-up reports, rather than just saying no.”
Chan also said she put a report on a 2019 meeting between former chief secretary Anson Chan and then-US vice-president Mike Pence on the front page, because she thought it was newsworthy and Lai requested to use the news “to its maximum effect”.
The court also heard the former associate publisher decided that an interview with Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee in April 2019 should be a front-page story.
Lai had instructed Chan Pui-man to continue reporting the dangers facing Hong Kong people doing business on the mainland to “scare” them, a message she relayed to other colleagues, the court heard.
Serving as an accomplice witness, she's among six senior staff of the now-defunct outlet who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit collusion.
The Apple Daily founder has denied three conspiracy charges relating to collusion with foreign forces and sedition.
The trial continues on Tuesday.