Apple pulls app that was popular among Hong Kong protesters after complaint from China

Hong Kong (dpa) – Apple removed an app from its store on Thursday that allowed Hong Kong protesters to track police movements, the day after Chinese state media accused the American tech giant of supporting demonstrations.

The police tracking app HKMap.Live said on Twitter that it had been pulled from the Hong Kong Apple store around 11 am Hong Kong time (0300 GMT). The app had been available for download a short time earlier.

The developer posted a statement from Apple on its Twitter page. In it Apple said that the “app has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.”

HKMap.Live has played a critical role in allowing protesters to evade Hong Kong police, who have been deployed in increasing numbers in recent weeks in a bid to discourage anti-government demonstrations.

The app’s removal, however, will likely have little effect on the protests as similar groups that track police movements, which have thousands of subscribers, exist on social media app Telegram.

A similar Android version of the app is still available in the Google Play store.

On Wednesday, China’s People’s Daily accused Apple of aiding “rioters” in Hong Kong.

“Nobody wants to drag Apple into the lingering unrest in Hong Kong,” the paper said. “But people have reason to assume that Apple is mixing business with politics and even illegal acts.

“Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision.”


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