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Home / World / Jimmy Lai, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy media mogul, was arrested under the new national security law

Jimmy Lai, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy media mogul, was arrested under the new national security law



The crime was created by a new national security law imposed by Beijing over the city last month. Mark Simon, business partner of Jimmy Lai said the tycoon was arrested earlier on Monday.

Seven men, between the ages of 39 and 72, were arrested on charges including collusion with foreign forces endangering national security and conspiracy, police said. cheat. The statement did not name any individuals, but a spokesperson told CNN that Lai was among them and that he was arrested on suspicion of collusion.

“The police investigation is still underway, and we cannot rule out the possibility that more people will be arrested.”

Late Monday morning, a live stream uploaded to Facebook by Apple Daily showed police ransacking the company̵

7;s newsroom. A police spokesman confirmed to CNN that the agency had a search warrant to enter the Apple Daily office.

Under new security laws imposed by Beijing on the city last month, the crime of colluding with foreign powers carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Lai has close ties with Washington and has campaigned for the United States to take a tougher line with China. What he did to go against the law since it passed is unclear.

This is not Lai’s first clash with the Hong Kong government. He was arrested and faced charges earlier this year regarding a protest march in August 2019. In June, Lai was charged with inciting people to attend a rally. illegal in annual candlelight prayers commemorating the massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Police banned this activity this year.
Lai’s most recent arrest, however, was one of the first since the security law was introduced on July 1. The law criminalized subversion, terrorism and collusion. foreign force. Late last month, four members of a student-led independence support group were arrested on charges of secession on social media. Ten people were also arrested during the July 1 protest.

The Hong Kong government has defended the law when necessary to protect national security. It has been denounced by human rights groups, the European Union and the United States as being too broad and restricting the city’s civil freedoms.

On Friday, the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao said in a statement that “we have repeatedly raised our serious concerns about the impact of the unclear, ambiguous and This breadth will be there for Hong Kong. ”
Lai’s arrest also came amid tensions between the United States and China over national security laws continuing to escalate. Washington imposed Friday sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and 10 other Chinese and Hong Kong officials for undermining the city’s autonomy.

The press tycoon

Formerly a clothing mogul, Lai founded Hong Kong’s Apple Daily in 1995 – two years before Hong Kong was handed over from Britain to China for control. Visually modeled on USA Today, the article has sparked a minor revolution in the city’s media landscape, sparking a price war and drastically changing the way competitors work. they struggled to keep up with Lai’s flashy tabloid sensitivities.

While focusing on celebrity gossip and other tabloids, since its handover, the paper has emerged as one of the harshest criticisms of the local and North authorities. Kinh. It has openly backed the pro-democracy movement and anti-government protests, printing flyers and posters in its pages so people can cut out and bring them to march.

This put Mr. Lai, 71, a prominent position in the opposition movement, and made him a figure that hated pro-Beijing politicians and media in the city.

Although his media influence is believed to have waned in recent years, coupled with the influence of traditional pro-democracy parties, his profile if anything has grown. Thanks to a campaign by Chinese state media that he is one of the “group of four” behind the anti-government protests that erupted last year.
Lai’s close proximity to right-wing politicians in the United States – he met Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then National Security Advisor John Bolton last July – has been passed down. Chinese state media used to paint the entire protest movement. , along with Apple Daily and similar media, is controlled by the United States.

People’s Daily – the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China – declared At the time, Lai was part of a quartet of modern “secret middlemen and traitors”, as Beijing tried to blame the unrest in Hong Kong on the forces of the water. out.

CNN’s Isaac Yee and Jenni Marsh contributed to the report.




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