Four men armed with sledgehammers forcibly broke into and ransacked the Hong Kong printing house of the anti-communist newspaper Epoch Times on Monday, local news outlet Coconuts Hong Kong reported.
“CCTV footage released by the paper showed four men storming into the printing plant, smashing computers and breaking equipment. They also tossed what appeared to be a soil-cement mixture into the printing machines,” according to the news site.
The violent assault lasted about two minutes. The masked men fled the site after damaging several components of the printing press. A female worker at the factory at the time of the attack told the Epoch Times that one of the assailants carried a knife inside a bag.
“Go away, go away, it’s none of your business! You go away, don’t make me hurt you!” some of the men yelled at the woman as they forced their way through the printing press’s entrance.
Photos and video footage shared by the Epoch Times on April 12 show extensive damage to the printing press following the attack.
“The most severely damaged was the console of the printing press. At the same time, the report machine, several computers on-site, and the CPU [central processing unit] of one of the computers were destroyed,” the newspaper’s online Hong Kong edition reported on Monday.
The Epoch Times is a New York City-based newspaper with a global reach. It publishes in 21 languages online and operates local printing presses in the U.S., Canada, and Hong Kong. The publication is a staunch supporter of free speech and has reported extensively about the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses and alleged cover-up of its initial Chinese coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.
“Hong Kong Epoch Times is not afraid of violent coercion. The company is rushing to repair equipment and will continue to report the truth to the public. We strongly condemn the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] for hiring murderers to commit violence. We hope that the police will solve the case as soon as possible and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Epoch Times spokeswoman Ms. Wu Xuee said in a statement on Monday.
The Epoch Times‘s Hong Kong printing press has been previously targeted for attacks by people allegedly linked to the CCP several times in the past, most recently in November 2019.
“In the 15 years since the establishment of the New Era Printing Factory, it has been severely damaged many times. Prior to this, the CCP had repeatedly hired murderers to violently attack the Hong Kong Epoch Times printing plant,” the newspaper’s online Hong Kong edition noted on Monday.
“At around 3:50 a.m. on November 19, 2019, the printing plant had just finished printing the newspaper and started the daily newspaper on the day it left the factory,” the newspaper recalled. “Less than 6 minutes after the door was opened, four black-clothed masked men posing as brave students suddenly broke into the factory by opening the door to deliver newspapers, holding similar police batons, threatening the workers on the scene not to move.”