Apple Daily, regarded as among the few independent media outlets in Hong Kong, will halt its operations by midnight on June 25 with its last print edition coming on June 24, after police froze assets linked to the paper and arrested its executives.
Ronson Chan Long-sing, the newly elected chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, described Apple Daily's closure as "heartbreaking" and condemned the arrest of Yeung, saying that it will set a unsafe precedent if a writer is found guilty for his words.
"There's the closing of free speech, but I think [it's] an attack on entrepreneurship and the model of success that Hong Kong had embodied". Thursday's raid will do little to temper the concerns of many in the city about their freedoms and future.
Wednesday's arrest came less than a week after police mobilized over 500 officers to arrest five top editors and company executives and search their homes and Apple's offices.
Taiwan's government expressed its condemnation of the "political oppression" of Hong Kong media after the Apple Daily printed its last edition.
More than 100 people, including the city's most outspoken pro-democracy advocates, have been arrested under the security legislation.
Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai, who has always been a critic of the Chinese Communist Party, is already in jail on a string of charges.
"Journalism is not a crime", Next Media Trade Union wrote in a statement.
Some rights groups, media organizations and Western governments have criticized the action against the newspaper.
Its owner Jimmy Lai is in jail and was among the first to be charged under the security law after Beijing imposed it on the city a year ago following 2019's huge democracy protests. Lai, whose assets have also been frozen under the security law, is already serving a prison sentence for taking part in unauthorised assemblies. The government also froze his assets, worth $64.3 million.
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"It is crystal clear that the powers under the national security law are being used as a tool to curtail freedoms and punish dissent - rather than keep public order".
Those three are still under investigation but were released from police detention.
But it has radically transformed the political and legal landscape of a city that China promised would be able to keep key liberties and autonomy after its 1997 return.
China responded to the protests with a number of measures suppressing dissent, including the national security law, which criminalises subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion endangering national security.
On Wednesday, Apple Daily announced its closure "out of consideration for the safety of its staff". One video clip showed a reporter typing on a Bluetooth keyboard at his desk with his smartphone replacing the confiscated computer.
Starting late Wednesday night, city residents started lining up outside stores to get copies of the paper's final edition. On Thursday, the newspaper will print 1 million copies of its last issue.
Hong Kong's most popular tabloid had always been a thorn in Beijing's side, with unapologetic support for the city's pro-democracy movement and caustic criticism of China's authoritarian leaders.
Last week, hundreds of police officers in Hong Kong swarmed the office and arrested several executives in what was called a "blatant attack" on its editorial team. In block letters it reads "I will stay in Hong Kong and continue to ..." inviting readers to write in their answer.
Police set up a cordon line outside Apple Daily headquarters in Hong Kong on June 17, 2021.
Apple Daily's supporters championed it as a beacon of media freedom in the Chinese-speaking world. The beleaguered news organization stopped updating its website's financial section and English edition on Tuesday.