Hong Kong residents lined up to buy copies of the pro-democracy Apple Daily, a day after its newsroom was raided by police.
Its front page carried a message of challenge: “We must continue.
The newspaper typically prints around 80,000 copies, but this figure has risen to 500,000. Some newsstands are full.
It came as two of Apple Daily’s executives were charged under Hong Kong’s controversial new national security law.
Police said two men, aged 47 and 59, would appear in West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.
The newspaper named the couple as its editor Ryan Law and chief executive Cheung Kim-hung.
Most of those charged under the law are denied bail and spend months behind bars before their trial.
The Apple Daily tabloid is known for its bold criticism of Chinese leaders.
Its billionaire owner Jimmy Lai, a leading supporter of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, is already in jail on a range of charges, including participating in an unauthorized rally in 2019.
He is one of dozens of prominent activists arrested since Beijing introduced the National Security Law last year.
Some 500 police officers descended on the Apple Daily newsroom on Thursday, taking computers and hard drives.
Police also froze HK $ 18 million ($ 2.3 million; £ 1.64 million) in assets held by three companies linked to the newspaper.
The editor-in-chief and four other executives were arrested at their homes. The three staff members not charged on Friday – operations director Chow Tat-kuen, deputy editor-in-chief Chan Pui-man and editor-in-chief Cheung Chi-wai – are still under investigation.
During a press briefing, police said that since 2019, Apple Daily has published more than 30 articles calling on countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland China.
The newspaper posted live footage of the raid on its Facebook account.
The push to complete Friday’s edition has come under scrutiny from other media outlets. The newspaper had become its own story, its front page bearing the words Mr. Cheung said to the staff as he was taken away in handcuffs: “We must continue.”
In the Mongkok district, Hong Kong people lined up in the early morning for the first edition.
“Usually we sell around 60 copies but tonight we just sold 1,800,” a newsstand owner told AFP.
Apple Daily reported that “some bought 10 or 100 copies at once to show their support, taking stacks of papers with them using a cart or car.”
Customer Steven Chow, who bought three copies, notes: “There is no perfect medium, but there is [Apple Daily] is a unique voice in Hong Kong.
“You might not like it, but I think you have to let them have their voice and survive, that’s important.”
It is not known how long the paper can continue to operate after the last asset freeze.
UN chief human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said on Friday that the newsroom raid “sends a frightening new message for media freedom.”
“We call on the Hong Kong authorities to respect their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in accordance with the Basic Law, in particular freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association and the right to participate in public affairs, ”he said.