The Foreign Correspondents’ Club’s (FCC) website remained offline on Tuesday owing to suspected malware. The club announced that the site was inaccessible, hours after it hosted a controversial talk by pro-independence activist Andy Chan.
The sold-out luncheon took place despite pressure from Beijing to drop the event, whilst dozens of pro-Beijing and pro-democracy demonstrators gathered outside in protest.
“The FCC’s website is undergoing maintenance to repair what we suspect is malware affecting the site, and currently cannot be accessed. We hope it will be operating normally soon,” an announcement on the club’s Facebook page said.
Shortly after the event, the Chinese foreign ministry in Hong Kong condemned the FCC for hosting Chan, saying that it had hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and “seriously damaged the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The local authorities also issued a statement calling the event “totally inappropriate and unacceptable.”
The FCC’s website is undergoing maintenance to repair what we suspect is malware affecting the site, and currently cannot be accessed. We hope it will be operating normally soon. pic.twitter.com/AkmGq7vb4Y
— FCC, Hong Kong (@fcchk) August 14, 2018
When HKFP visited the FCC’s homepage earlier on Tuesday, it appeared that a blockchain platform known as VALUS had been installed on the site.
Hours before the talk, the fire brigade responded to an emergency call at the FCC’s Central premises. The club, however, said that there was no emergency, and the call was likely a hoax.
In a statement, the club thanked the Fire Services Department “for its prompt response to what we believe to have been a hoax call from outside the building announcing that there was a fire or fire alarm activation at the club shortly before the event began. There was in fact no fire and no alarm had been activated.”
Last month, the police told the government that there was a sufficiently strong case in the interests of “national security, public safety, public order, protection of freedom and rights of others” for the security secretary to ban Chan’s party, citing the Section 8(1)(a) of the Societies Ordinance for the first time after the Handover.
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