Jimmy Lai’s aide Mark Simon files criminal complaint against CEO of Taiwan’s Apple Daily and 2 others for illegally selling the business (Updated: 9pm)

From left to right, Mark Simon, Ip Yut-kin, Poon Kit-yin and Kenny Wee.

13th August 2022 – (Taipei) In June this year, it was announced earlier that Taiwan’s sister website of former Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily has found a new buyer which would retain most of its staff. According to its statement released on 8th June 2022, Taiwan’s Apple Daily said it has “completed a handover”. The statement also said that Ip Yut-kin, CEO of the news organisation, told everyone in person that the first-level executive meeting was held because the mass dismissal law in Taiwan has to be announced 60 days in advance.

However, there have been speculations that the new buyers are business men Kenny Wee and Poon Kit-yin, founders of social livestreaming platform App 17Live, who previously acquired the biggest podcast management platform SoundOn in Taiwan. 

Ip Yut Kin subsequently announced in June this year that its Taiwan “Apple Online” was acquired by Hong Kong businessman Kenny Wee and Poon. Jimmy Lai’s assistant, Mark Simon who also represented the major shareholders then filed a criminal complaint against Ip, CEO of Taiwan Apple Online Wu Yu-ai  and Chief Financial Officer Chen Zanxin for allegedly illegally selling Taiwan Apple to Wee and Poon.

The five of them have allegedly violated the rights of Next Digital in Hong Kong and its shareholders, and they are suspected of breach of trust, and can be sentenced to a maximum of 5 years in prison.

Taiwan’s Shilin District Prosecutor’s Office said today that the case is under full investigation. Mark Simon pointed out in the complaint that the shareholders of Hong Kong Next Digital have never been informed in advance of the sale of Taiwan Apple Online, nor have they authorised anyone to sell the assets of the Taiwan branch of “Apple Daily”.

“I have been a director of the relevant company for a long time and to protect the rights and interests of Next Digital group and its shareholders, I have filed a complaint with the Shilin District Procuratorate.” Ip and others sold the assets of the Taiwan Apple branch without the consent of the head office and never notified the head office. They are all senior executives in Taiwan Apple, but they are suspected of privately negotiating with Wee and Poon to sell the assets of Taiwan Apple in return for new company positions and honorary titles. Mark Simon believes that the behaviour of the persons involved has been suspected of breach of trust and in violation of “Money Laundering Control Act”.