HKFP columnist and ex-RTHK broadcaster Steve Vines has left Hong Kong for the UK citing the security law crackdown.

“The white terror sweeping through Hong Kong is far from over and the near-term prospects of things getting better are simply non-existent,” he wrote in an email to friends and colleagues.

Steve Vines. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The award-winning columnist said that the very essence of the city was being destroyed: “Hong Kong is now in a very dark place as the Chinese dictatorship has slashed and burned its way through the tattered remains of the One Country, Two Systems concept.”

Last month, public broadcaster RTHK axed Vines’ current affairs show “The Pulse” and – in April – he was dropped as a contributor to RTHK’s Morning Brew radio show.

The decision to leave after 35 years was made with a “heavy heart and a mixture of enormous regret and relief,” the ex-Foreign Correspondents’ Club president added.

During his career in Asia, Vines was a founding editor and publisher of three newspapers and magazines, including the now-defunct Eastern Express.

Press freedom under fire

RTHK has been on the frontline of a press freedom crackdown under the Beijing-enacted security law with shows axed and staff leaving amid pressure from pro-Beijing figures. In May, it deleted most of its archive from the internet.

File photo: inmediahk.net.

In response to dropping Vines, RTHK told HKFP at the time that it “reviews and updates the programming strategies on different channels from time to time.”

The news comes as political artist Kacey Wong also announced on Tuesday that he had left the city for Taiwan owing to the political crackdown.

Vines will continue to write for HKFP.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.