HONG KONG - A leading Hong Kong pro-democracy tabloid Thursday blamed Beijing for a massive cyberattack on its website, just days after a series of similar attacks on an online referendum on electoral reform.
The website of Apple Daily, known for its critical stance on Beijing, suffered a blackout for several hours on Wednesday after what it described as a large-scale attack launched by sophisticated hackers.
The attack comes at a time of heightened tension in the former British colony as pro-democracy activists worry that Beijing will backtrack on universal suffrage promised to Hong Kong in 2017.
In a front page article headlined "We will never backtrack", the Apple Daily accused Beijing of orchestrating the cyberattack.
"Apple Daily is attacked every day but this time the scale was unprecedented," said Cheung Ka-sing, chief executive of Next Media that owns Apple Daily.
"I don't want to speculate the motives of the hackers but I believe cyberattacks will continue to happen," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The incident comes on the heels of a series of June 14 attacks on a website of "Occupy Central", a pro-democracy movement launched by local activists aimed at pushing China to allow universal suffrage in the semi-autonomous city, whose leader is currently chosen by a pro-Beijing committee.