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Hong Kong Free Press hit by denial-of-service attack weeks before launch

Hong Kong Free PressHong Kong Free Press, an independent news website set up to counter falling press freedom in the territory, has been hit by a denial-of-service attack before the platform has launched.

The site – which is set to go live at the end of this month – was down for half a day yesterday. The attack appeared to come from a source in Amsterdam, according to the website’s co-director Tom Grundy.

Grundy said: “It is curious as to why Hong Kong Free Press would be attacked, as we have yet to launch the site and have said that we intend to be as impartial as possible, welcoming voices from all sides of the political debate. Crude cyber-attacks will not hinder our launch and we now have a top team of experts on board to ensure we’re well-prepared.”

The news comes as Hong Kong Free Press announces a number of new hires following a successful online fundraising drive. The site broke a record for the largest sum ever raised on crowdfunding platform Fringebacker, and is nearing its target HK$500,000 to be reached by 8 June. The funds have enabled HKFP to double staff numbers.

Joining the startup full-time are journalism graduates Vivienne Zeng and Vicky Wong from the University of Hong Kong. Also joining as interns are Ryan Kilpatrick and Eric Cheung. They join a team including Ellie Ng, Arthur Lo and co-directors Tom Grundy and Evan Fowler.

The site has also signed a content sharing deal with Cantonese digital broadcaster D100. “We look forward to establishing other partnerships in keeping with our aim to become the first truly local and independent English news source in Hong Kong,” Grundy said.

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