Four intruders barged into the printing plant of the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times in the early hours of April 12, damaging computers and printing equipment in an attack believed to be the latest effort by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to silence the news outlet.
Cheryl Ng, a spokeswoman for the Hong Kong edition, said the intrusion was characteristic of the CCP and had the aim of silencing an independent outlet from reporting on topics that are taboo to the communist regime.
Ng, who condemned the attack, said it was a crime against Hong Kong’s freedom of speech.
The Epoch Times, one of the few independent media outlets in Hong Kong, is known for its uncensored coverage of China, including political infighting within the CCP, the regime’s human rights violations against ethnic minorities and religious groups, and Beijing’s propaganda and influence operations abroad.
IntrusionAbout 4:38 a.m. on April 12, a female employee of the printing press returned to the shop, where she spotted a man in his 30s standing nearby, while chatting on his cellphone.
When the employee tried to close a sliding door, the man suddenly walked up and stood in the doorway, preventing it from being shut.
The man then angrily questioned the female employee, asking her to have ‘Mr. Chu’ come out and meet him. When the employee responded that there was no such person, the man refused to walk away.
Suddenly, three other men arrived and pushed their way into the facility. Two of them carried sledgehammers, and one of them carried a plastic bag with a knife in it.
They shouted at another employee: “Go away. Go away. It is none of your business. Go away. Don’t force me to do anything.”
After barging in, the men started hammering on the printing equipment. Among the items damaged were the printing press’s central control panel and several computers. One of the men also tossed construction debris from his bag onto the equipment.
The printing plant staff then called the police, who arrived shortly afterward.
In October 2012, thugs failed to smash open a gate in an attempt to break into the print shop. About two months later, seven men toting toolboxes appeared and began trying to break through the gate; they fled after police were called.
Ng said that the company’s Hong Kong edition won’t bow to violent threats, and is in the process of repairing the damage. She expressed hope that the Hong Kong police will solve the case and bring the four men to justice.
She urged Hongkongers to continue to support the newspaper.