Epoch Times: Attack on printing plant 'carefully planned and timed to sabotage' the paper
Epoch Times directors said they would not bow to intimidation and keep reporting news in Hong Kong.
The Epoch Times held a press conference Tuesday detailing the attacks on its Hong Kong printing plant, alleging the Chinese Communist Party was involved.
"It is obvious the attacks to the printing facility ... are carefully planned and timed to sabotage The Epoch Times because we are the independent voice in Hong Kong," June Gao, the newspaper's Hong Kong office director, said at press conference. "This act was not only an attack on the Epoch Times but on freedom of the press in the city at the hands of CCP."
The attack occurred Monday when four masked men with hammers appeared to enter the plant and smash printing equipment, as seen in a video on the conservative-leaning newspaper's website.
Hong Kong police have picked up the case and are looking for the men. But there is no evidence so far to connect the incident with the Chinese Communist Party.
Residents of Hong Kong revolted against China in 2019 when the government tried to extradite residents of the territory to the mainland to be tried for some crimes. The plan was postponed but fueled the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong – in which demonstrators clashed with police and resulting in further efforts by Chinese officials to curb attempts at independence.
The attack on the plant this week was the fifth time since 2006, according to the newspaper.
Guo alleged that the attack was intended to silence the paper from covering pro-democracy leaders' sentencing on April 16, after they were arrested earlier this month on charges of unlawful assembly.
"We believe the attack was timed to suppress our paper from reporting on this important sentencing," Guo said. "But we will not back down."
Guo said the printing press control panel sustained the most damage, while the transmitters and computers were destroyed, and the men stole a piece of electronic equipment known as CPU or central processing unit.
The Epoch Times is currently one of the few independent media outlets in Hong Kong and began publishing in there in 2001.