On 23rd August 2019, TVB terminated around 20 staff and it created “white terror” (白色恐怖), and they reckoned it was because of their online messages related to Hong Kong protests. On the same day, CEO of TVB, Mark Lee (李寶安) explained to Apple Daily HK (蘋果) that it was due to the poor economy and political problems which caused uncertainty in the future outlook. Hence, the restructuring and reducing the manpower in the company was necessary and he was unclear about the employees’ personal affairs.
Although the reason provided looked valid on the surface, but one of the dismissed staff named Mr Leung (梁先生) exposed the lie to Apple Daily HK on 24th August. Despite the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and financial crisis in 2008, his job remained secure and Mr Leung did not expect the dismissal was because of the political issue: “I only took a photo and showed it to my family and friends in WhatsApp group chat but somebody uploaded it online. The company captured it through its CCTV and I was fired after that.”
Apparently, Mr Leung took a photo of the notice related to pursuing the responsibility if any staff failed to report to work without valid reason issued by the company on 2nd August. He said: “I did turn up for work on 5th August and only take a photo to tell my family. Honestly speaking, participating in work strike has never cross my mind due to the sensitivity. (Feel you are accused?) There is nothing much I can do when the firm used the poor economy as an excuse for the termination. Do you believe it? I am even promoted in 2016 and it is impossible that it will fire us especially with our experiences and low wages.”
Mr Leung added an employee from an engineering department was dismissed due to showing photo of a control room on the third floor in the company to the media. When asked if he wished the local political problem would be resolved soon, He said: “I have no special comments. Everyone hopes the peace will be restored soon or achieves his/her aim. I do not want to see any attacks but give my feedback to this matter only. (Any plans in the future?) I have been working for more than 20 years and taking a break first. Anyway, TVB compensated me by giving a month wages.”