The plight of doomed Hong Kong broadcaster Asia Television has provoked strong emotions all the way from Beijing, with some former associates attending a major political conference in the capital expressing
Representatives from accounting firm Deloitte are expected to hand out termination letters to ATV staff on Friday morning and figure out how to shut down transmission after the court gave the go-ahead on Thursday.
“I still see a glimmer of hope,” said a security guard surnamed Chow, who has been with the broadcaster for more than 25 years.
”I was told last night that the new investor will make an all-out effort to stop Deloitte from taking us off air, and he promised to pay two months of salaries as long as the accounting firm agreed,” Chow said.
At 9am on Friday, very few employees walked into the broadcaster’s Tai Po head headquarters, outnumbered by the scores of reporters and photographers gathered outside to witness the final moments in ATV’s 60-year history.
There was a clash between journalists and an ATV staff member who tried to drive onto the premises and stopped only about 10 centimetres away from a crowd of reporters. Outrage broke out among the journalists over the driver’s behaviour. The car then left and did not return.
Programmes are still running on ATV’s local and world channels.
READ MORE: It’s curtains for ATV – liquidators to shut down ailing broadcaster after Hong Kong court decision cleared the way
In Beijing, former ATV investor Chan Wing-kee, who spoke on the sidelines of the annual session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said on Friday morning: “I’m in a very bad mood today, I don’t know what those folks are doing. It’s just such a big mess!”
He declined to speak further.
CPPCC delegate and former ATV manager Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said: “I’m not familiar with details of their problems, but as an outsider, I also feel that the station is in a mess. Why has it turned out this way? It’s such a pity for it to close down before this month’s end.”
The station’s licence is due to expire at the end of March.
Staff shuttle bus services are still running at ATV. Over the past half hour, two to three people were at one point seen next to a van belonging to the broadcaster’s news department.
Asked if he would be staying on, a staff member who carried bags of personal belongings to a car outside and later rushed back to office said: “I don’t know. [I’m] waiting for the Labour Department.”
He did not answer further questions from reporters.
Jan He, the representative of new investor Si Rongbin, was seen arriving at the office at 10.15am.