STEPHEN Vines, the sacked chief editor of Hong Kong's newest English-language newspaper, the Eastern Express, is suing his former employer, Ma Ching-kwan of the Oriental Press Group, for breach of contract following his dismissal on Friday. Mr Vines, who was hired by the Oriental Press Group (OPG) to launch the paper, said yesterday his sacking was 'inexplicable' and that he had faced 'two months of harassment' before he was handed a letter on Friday night informing him his contract had been terminated. 'They made an offer to me to go which I turned down,' Mr Vines said of a meeting with Christopher Chan Cheuk, a non-executive director of OPG on Friday. 'And I then said, 'I want you to stop messing around' and that was when they gave me the letter.' He said the reasons given in the letter, which he would not disclose as they form the basis of his legal action, were 'insubstantial and trivial'. Company spokesman Herman Hui Cheung-sing said the paper would continue to be published: 'At this stage it would not be proper for me to make any comment. We want to make sure there is no misunderstanding between staff and management, and that the public continues to get the paper.' Two senior members of staff, business editor Ivan Tong Kam-piu and financial editor Lulu Yu, resigned immediately after Mr Vines' departure. Mr Vines' ousting has thrown into doubt the future of the paper which was launched in February. Last month the special projects unit was closed down, resulting in the amalgamation of some sections and accompanied by memos informing staff of tighter management controls. Irene Chua, personnel manager of OPG, yesterday told the Sunday Morning Post that Mr Vines had not been dismissed. 'We just terminated the service agreement between OPG and Pan Brittain with effect from today [Saturday]. Pan Brittain provided the editorial services of Steve Vines for OPG. We terminated the services; we did not dismiss him. It is not the same in legal terms but the consequences are the same.' But she said that Mr Vines, who is reputed to have been earning around $150,000 per month, will receive a payment for having his contract terminated prematurely.