Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily ran a full-page ad in its Thursday edition that was an obituary for the founder and owner of its main rival, the Beijing-critical and pro-democracy Apple Daily. The fake obituary, in giant Chinese characters, said Jimmy Lai had died of AIDS.
It changed the tycoon's name, replacing one character with another that sounds identical, but the biographical details were otherwise identical to Lai's.
It stated that Lai, 65, had died on August 7 of AIDS and cancer, adding that there would be no funeral because his family members were also suffering from illnesses.
"They want me to die? Is it really that easy?" Lai apparently fired back in a video. "Sorry to disappoint you." According to the Associated Press, the fake obituary made jabs at Lai's company and gave him a (lame) nickname:
The graphic style of the fake obituary mirrored that of real obituaries in Hong Kong media. It said the tycoon was also known as "Fatty Lai" and that his family members also had severe diseases and couldn't attend his funeral. It offered condolences to staff at Two Media, a reference to Lai's company, which in Chinese is known as One Media.
The Agence France-Presse reports that it's still unknown who bought the ad.