Apple Daily, the pro-democracy Hong Kong tabloid founded by media tycoon Jimmy Lai, will close on Saturday after its assets were frozen in what critics said was a hammer blow to the city’s free press.

Next Digital, the newspaper’s parent company, said its final edition will be printed on Saturday and its website would no longer be accessible from just before midnight that night.

Apple Daily was known for its willingness to confront and criticise the government.

Hong Kong authorities have mounted a crackdown on the Chinese territory’s civil and political life following pro-democracy protests that engulfed the city in 2019. This has included the imposition of a sweeping national security law that has severely curtailed opposition.

An editorial writer for Apple Daily who goes by the pen name Li Ping was arrested under the law on Wednesday. Li was detained days after authorities raided Apple Daily’s offices and arrested five executives, including Ryan Law, its editor-in-chief. It was the first time the national security law was used against journalists.

Lai has already been jailed for separate offences.