Hong Kong Newspaper Prints Fake Obituary of Rival’s Owner

Mike Forsythe and Alan Wong | 14 August 2014 | New York Times 

It was the journalistic equivalent of putting a horse’s head in your rival’s bed. Lai Chee-ying, 65, also known as Fatty Lai and a native of Shunde in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, had died of AIDS and cancer on Aug. 7. Since his family members were also sick, there would be no funeral.

So read the full-page obituary, in boldface Chinese characters, on page A7 of the Chinese-language Oriental Daily on Thursday. Although one character in the man’s name had been switched to another one with the same sound, the other biographical detailsmatched those of Jimmy Lai, owner of a rival newspaper, Apple Daily, and a well-known supporter of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. There was no indication that it was a paid advertisement. It offered condolences to the employees of “Two Media.” In Chinese, Apple Daily’s parent company uses characters whose literal translation is “One Media.”

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