Taipei [Taiwan], June 25 (ANI): Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday expressed regret over the closure of the Apple Daily newspaper in Hong Kong and said a free Taiwan will continue to support freedom for Hong Kong.
After Apple Daily published its last edition on Thursday, Tsai posted her remarks on her Facebook page, saying that the daily was also a beachhead for those who are not afraid of authoritarian rule, long for democracy and pursue freedom, reported NHK World.
Pledging Taiwan's continued support, Tsai expressed hope that the yearning for freedom and democracy deep in the hearts of Hong Kong people will one day make the "Pearl of the Orient" shine again.
Earlier, scores of Hongkongers rushed overnight to buy a copy of Hong Kong's Apple Daily pro-democracy newspaper's last-ever edition on Thursday.
As queues of customers stretched outside newsstands across Hong Kong on early Thursday, a round of applause erupted in the Apple Daily newsroom at 11. 45 pm to mark executive editor-in-chief Lam Man-chung sending off the last issue of the newspaper to the printing press, South China Morning Post reported.
"Keep it up, Apple Daily! Keep it up, Hong Kong!" staff chanted, as the paper's followers outside its Tseung Kwan O headquarters whistled and clapped in support.
Apple Daily on Wednesday announced that it is shutting its operations earlier than expected and will stop publishing online from midnight and its management decided to run its last print edition from today.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hong Kong's national security police detained the paper's lead editorial writer on suspicion of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces, the first such arrest under the Beijing-imposed legislation.
Since the arrest of five of its top executives last Thursday, Apple Daily has lost nearly half its workforce. But those remaining on Tuesday vowed to carry on through the end.
Last week, police raided Apple Daily's headquarters and arrested five executives. Lai had launched Next magazine as part of his Next Media group, now known as Next Digital.
The closure of the newspaper was heavily condemned by the international community, with many saying that the Hong Kong government undermines media freedom and pluralism. (ANI)