Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai became the highest-profile person arrested under a new national security law …Read More
HONG KONG: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai became the highest-profile person arrested under a new national security law on Monday, detained over suspected collusion with foreign forces as around 200 police searched the offices of his Apple Daily newspaper.
Mainlandborn Lai, who was smuggled into Hong Kong on a fishing boat when he was a 12-year-old, has been one of the most prominent democracy activists and an ardent critic of Beijing. His arrest comes amid Beijing’s crackdown against pro-democracy opposition in the city.
Beijing said it supported Lai’s arrest. A spokesman for China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office told the official Xinhua news agency Lai was a representative of people who were “anti-China, anti-Hong Kong,” and used his media group to spread rumours. Lai, 71, had been a frequent visitor to Washington, where he even met secretary of state Mike Pompeo to rally support for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a “traitor”. Suspected offences included “collusion with a foreign country/external elements to endanger security, conspiracy to defraud”, the police said.
Apple Daily posted on its Facebook page a livestream of police officers roaming through its newsroom and rifling through files. Lai was brought back to the office in handcuffs. Police said 200 officers entered the premises with a warrant and collected 25 boxes of evidence.