Paper apologises for coverage of reviled widower

Cynthia Wan

The Apple Daily newspaper yesterday gave over its entire front page to an apology for its reports on controversial widower Chan Kin-hong.

Owner Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, who signed the apology, said the incident had been handled improperly, although he insisted the paper had not, as alleged, paid $5,000 directly to Mr Chan.

He described the reports as 'sensational' and pledged a review of the newspaper's practices.

'The inappropriate way of handling the stories made the readers and the public dissatisfied and led to strong criticism. I and the editorial management of the paper are uneasy and sorry about it,' he wrote.

Mr Chan, 41, drew media interest after his wife threw their two sons out of a window before leaping to her own death from their Sheung Shui home on October 19.

She was reported to be upset about her husband's visits to mainland prostitutes. Soon afterwards, Apple Daily printed pictures of Mr Chan in bed with prostitutes in Dongguan. It said it had paid $5,000 to Mr Chan's associates.

Mr Chan also was widely featured in Apple's rival Oriental Daily News and on TVB and ATV.

A Christian group, the Society for Truth and Light, welcomed the apology, but said it did not go far enough.

'This paper is always keen to apologise but is not really repenting,' the Reverend Timothy Lam Hoi-shing said.

'To show they are sincere, they should donate money made from circulation increases due to the reports on Chan to welfare groups.' Publisher Loh Chan said it had made no extra profits.