Ming Paoâs executive chief editor Kwok-yuen Keung was suddenly dismissed at midnight Tuesday with immediate effect.
Keungâs dismissal coincidentlyÂ came hours after Ming Pao published several reports about Hong Kong businessmen and politicians were named in the Panama Papers, which worried its staff members and Human Rights Monitor.
The company issued a statement saying it “had no choice but to take on cost-cutting measuresâ during âtough timesâ, adding that Ming Paoâs âeditorial policy remains unchangedâ.
The statement also said the staff cut included employees from both the editorial and business departments, as well as senior staff.
The paperâs staff association said it was extremely angry about the decision and accused the principal executive editor Tien-siong Chong of using cost-cutting as an excuse to sack Keung.
A group of seven media unions said they areÂ âdeeply shockedâ by the sudden firing ofÂ Keung.Â TheÂ media unionsÂ said the reason given by the newspaperâs management was âfar-fetchedâ.
It also came as local media companies struggled to survive. Earlier this month, Sing Tao News Corporation announced a pay cut of up to 20% for its senior news executives.