Sing Pao daily unable to pay fines, court told

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2007, 12:00am

The company running Chinese-language newspaper Sing Pao Daily News had become a liability and was unable to pay fines of HK$228,000 for failing to pay or delaying payment of wages and other entitlements to staff, the District Court heard yesterday.

Barrister Albert Poon, for Sing Pao Newspaper Management, made the statement in support of its application for a review of the fines, imposed by a magistrate in August.

Magistrate Merinda Chow Yin-chu adjourned the hearing until Tuesday to give prosecutors time to study company documents it received yesterday.

Ms Chow imposed the fines in August for 45 counts of failing to pay or pay promptly wages, annual leave pay and Mandatory Provident Fund contributions to editorial and production staff of the newspaper between April last year and January.

The court heard that although the fine was due this month, no money had been paid.

Mr Poon said that when the fines were imposed, the company initially thought it could borrow money to pay them, but it has been unable to do so. The court heard the company had been borrowing to pay wages.

The company's latest bank statement was submitted to the court yesterday, and Mr Poon said a financial controller could also give evidence concerning its financial status.