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Prosecutors probe attack on Next Media's websites

TAIPEI -- Prosecutors launched an investigation yesterday into an alleged hacker attack against the websites of Next Media that has disrupted the services for hours at a time over the past two days.

Those responsible for the act may have committed an offense against computer security, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, according to the Shihlin District Prosecutors Office.

Hong Kong-based Next Media, which publishes the Apple Daily newspaper and Next magazine in Hong Kong and Taiwan, said its websites were attacked early Wednesday and that web services were not fully resumed by late evening.

Connections to the Apple Daily website were off and on Thursday.

The media group believed the attacks have been launched by Chinese hackers to suppress Hong Kong residents' fight for democracy.

Apple Daily in Hong Kong is a staunch supporter of the Occupy Central campaign that is pushing for the full implementation of universal suffrage in the former British colony.

The popvote.hk website, which hosts an online referendum on behalf of the Occupy Central movement, was also attacked.

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