Masked men poured soy sauce on stacks of Apple Daily newspaper at three distribution points in Hong Kong in the early hours of Wednesday, rendering the copies unsellable, Ming Pao Daily reported.
The attacks happened as protesters against the pro-democracy Occupy campaign continued to picket the head office of the newspaper in Tseung Kwan O in defiance of a restraining order from the High Court, the report said.
Armed with knives, four masked men poured five barrels of soy sauce over stacks of the newspaper awaiting distribution in Hung Hom, Cheung Sha Wan and Central. Copies of Headline Daily, published by the Sing Tao News Group, were also damaged.
About 7,000 copies of Apple Daily were damaged in the Hung Hom attack alone, resulting in losses estimated at HK$42,000 (US$5,400), Ip Yut-kin, chief executive Apple Daily Ltd., was quoted as saying.
On Oct. 10, the publication’s distribution points in Hung Hom and Cheung Sha Wan were attacked by unidentified men. About 16,000 newspaper copies worth more than HK$100,000 were damaged.
In Tseung Kwan O, anti-Occupy protesters have been camping outside the Apple Daily’s head office since Oct. 12.
Tents had sprung up at vehicle entrances to the building, blocking employee shuttle buses and newspaper delivery trucks.
The newspaper is known for articles that are highly critical of the administration and supportive of the Occupy campaign. Its founder Jimmy Lai is a key figure in the democracy movement.
On Wednesday afternoon, about a hundred anti-Occupy protesters brought a paper coffin to the entrance of the building and performed what appeared to be a funeral ceremony.
During the incident, several protesters confronted a 27-year-old female reporter and splashed water on her. Police were called in but no one was arrested.
Sham Yee-lan, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, voiced indignation over the series of attacks on Apple Daily, calling them an assault on press freedom and urging authorities to conduct an impartial probe.
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