In a stock exchange filing, Next Digital said the four members of its board of directors, including chairman Ip Yut Kin, were stepping down to protect shareholders, creditors, employees and former employees.
The directors said in a statement that they have concluded that an orderly liquidation would serve the best interests of shareholders, creditors, staff and other stakeholders.
The company explained that it had not been able to legally pay its newspaper staff or the costs of doing business – such as buying ink and keeping the electricity on – since then-security secretary John Lee froze its bank accounts and instructed that it would be a crime for it to use its funds in other accounts to pay any expenses on behalf of those operations.
It said it hoped the government would allow liquidators to authorise payments that its directors have been banned from approving, including for creditors and employees.
The company also revealed that, since the arrests and charging of the company’s former CEO Cheung Kim-hung and Apple Daily editor-in-chief Ryan Law under the national security law – and subsequent arrests of more executives, editors and writers, it had been hit with many resignations, including from those responsible for its regulatory compliance duties.
“The Hong Kong government has never indicated which articles published by Apple Daily allegedly violated the National Security Law,” the statement read.
“This uncertainty created a climate of fear, resulting in many resignations among the remaining staff at the Company in Hong Kong.”
The Company added that the trading in its shares, which has been suspended since 17 June, will remain as such until further notice.