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SMARTONE TELECOMMUNICATIONS HOLDINGS LIMITED

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Hong Kong protest-related website says users' access blocked

01/10/2021 | 02:46am EDT

HONG KONG, Jan 10 (Reuters) - A Hong Kong website that publishes material mainly related to anti-government protests in 2019 said its users' access had been blocked by the city's internet service providers (ISPs).

The website, HKChronicles, said it began receiving reports from Hong Kong-based users saying they could no longer access the site since Wednesday evening.

"After discussing and investigating with our supporters, we found that some ISPs of Hong Kong have deliberately dropped any connection to our servers, so that the user could not receive replies from our servers, resulting in an inability to access our content," chief editor Naomi Chan said in a statement.

The South China Morning Post, citing unnamed sources, said on Sunday that Hong Kong police had invoked the city's national security law for the first time to block HKChronicles.

The police force had started asking ISPs to halt access, citing Article 43 of the law, the newspaper reported.

The Hong Kong police said they could not comment on individual cases. The city’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under the controversial legislation imposed on the Chinese-ruled city in June, the police can request service providers to restrict access to electronic platforms or messages that could pose a threat to national security.

HKChronicles said that based on reports from users, the ISPs suspected of being involved in the blocking included Smartone , China Mobile Hong Kong, PCCW "and others". It did not elaborate.

China Mobile, Smartone, and PCCW did not respond to requests for comment.

The security law punishes what China broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in jail.

The Hong Kong and Beijing governments say it is vital to plug holes in national security defences exposed by months of sometimes violent anti-government and anti-China protests that rocked the global financial hub in 2019.

Hong Kong police arrested 53 people in dawn raids on democracy activists on Wednesday, in the biggest crackdown since China imposed the security law. The arrests have raised alarm that Hong Kong has taken a swift authoritarian turn.

"I think right now many users are being affected, but few websites are being affected. It seems like it's a technology test, to test the influence of blocking websites to the entire Hong Kong network," Chan told Reuters via the social media platform Telegram. (Reporting by Jessie Pang and Donny Kwok; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and William Mallard)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CHINA MOBILE LIMITED 1.27% 47.75 End-of-day quote.8.03%
HKBN LTD. 0.21% 9.38 End-of-day quote.-21.83%
PCCW LIMITED 1.77% 4.02 End-of-day quote.-13.92%
SMARTONE TELECOMMUNICATIONS HOLDINGS LIMITED 1.14% 4.45 End-of-day quote.7.49%
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Financials
Sales 2021 6 531 M 839 M 839 M
Net income 2021 438 M 56,3 M 56,3 M
Net cash 2021 710 M 91,1 M 91,1 M
P/E ratio 2021 12,2x
Yield 2021 6,60%
Capitalization 4 944 M 635 M 635 M
EV / Sales 2021 0,65x
EV / Sales 2022 0,63x
Nbr of Employees 1 665
Free-Float 26,9%
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Last Close Price 4,45 HKD
Average target price 5,04 HKD
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Ping Luen Kwok Chairman
Kam Kun Chau Executive Director & Chief Technology Officer
Leung Sing Ng Independent Non-Executive Director
Fock Kin Gan Independent Non-Executive Director
Ka Cheung Li Independent Non-Executive Director
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