Media mogul Jimmy Lai, owner of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily and pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow, were released on bail after they were arrested during a crackdown under new national security laws led by the North. Sutras impose.
Lai was released early on Wednesday, surrounded by his lawyers and greeted by supporters who chanted “fight to the end” and “support apples, eat apples one after another. day, “refers to pro-democracy tabloids.
He did not make any comments after being released. Lai’s bail is set at HK $ 300,000 ($ 38,461), plus HK $ 200,000 ($ 25,805).
A fervent critic of the Communist Party̵7;s rule in Beijing was arrested Monday on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces when about 200 officers raided his newsrooms and collected 25 boxes. Journalists at the newsroom stream live on Facebook dramatic footage of the raid.
There was a major media controversy outside the Mong Kok police station, as @JimmyLaiApple was finally released about 40 hours after being arrested by NSL.
According to Oriental Daily, Lai was required to pay HK $ 500,000 (US $ 64.5k) in bail, and HK $ 50 million in his assets had been frozen. pic.twitter.com/VEVYf2Cy2o
– Eric Cheung (@EricCheungwc) August 11, 2020
In total, 10 people were arrested on Monday, targeting pro-democracy opposition figures in semi-autonomous territory, attracting international criticism and arousing fears that Beijing is revoking its promised freedoms under the “one country, two systems” formula that had been in place since the end of British colonialism in 1997.
Extensive Security Act, introduced on June 30, punishes anything Beijing considers separatist, subversive, “terrorist” or colluding with foreign forces with prison sentences life.
The Hong Kong media mogul was arrested under the new security law
The Hong Kong government is backed by Beijing and Chinese authorities say the law is necessary to restore order after months of violent anti-government and pro-democracy protests last year. .
Lai’s release came after his two sons and activist Agnes Chow were also released late on Tuesday.
After her release, Chau Tinh Tri, who became a prominent figure in the so-called Umbrella Movement in 2014, called her arrest “political persecution and political persecution”, according to South. China Morning Post.
“It is clear that the regime is using national security laws to crack down on dissidents,” she said.
Chau Tinh Tri also told reporters she was “unprepared” when she was arrested on Monday night.
“I’ve been arrested four times before, but to be honest this time, I’m the most scared. And it was the hardest time.”
She added that the authorities did not provide any evidence that she violated national security laws.
The most recent crackdown comes less than two weeks after police made the first arrests of four students under the new national security law.
‘Dance with the enemy’
The Apple Daily has responded defiantly to Lai’s arrest, with readers lining up early Tuesday to receive a copy of the newspaper.
“Apple Daily must fight,” reads its front page title.
Critics accuse Hong Kong of suppressing press freedom
“The prayers and encouragement of many readers and writers make us believe that as long as there are readers, there will be writers, and Apple Daily will definitely fight.”
More than 500,000 copies have been printed, compared with the usual 100,000, the newspaper said on its website.
Mainland-born Lai, who was smuggled into Hong Kong on a fishing boat at the age of 12, is one of the city’s most prominent democracy activists.
The Chinese government in the past labeled him a “traitor” and issued a statement in support of his arrest, while the Beijing-backed China Daily newspaper argued that Lai’s arrest showed ” the cost of dancing with the enemy “.
The newspaper added that “delayed justice does not mean the absence of justice”.
Agnes Chow: Former Chinese Hong Kong youth activist wants to be quiet https://t.co/dd4Sxuptru @chowtingagnes #hongkong @jerometaylor pic.twitter.com/SVA5AO1Cf3
– Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@HongKongFP) August 11, 2020
The most recent arrests have also sparked a new round of international condemnation
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday called Lai a “patriot,” saying Beijing had “evaded” Hong Kong’s freedoms.
Meanwhile, the UK argued that Lai’s arrest was further evidence that security law was “an excuse to silence protesters”, the Chinese embassy responded by urging London to stop ” use freedom of the press as an excuse to discredit the law.
Last week, the US imposed sanctions on some top officials for what they said was their role in the restriction of political freedoms in Hong Kong. China responded with sanctions on top US lawmakers and others.