Media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying was arrested on Monday morning, along with seven others, accused of violating the new security law in Hong Kong.
Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, better known as Jimmy Lai, is the owner of Next Digital, which founded and publishes Apple Daily. He is also a noted pro-democracy figure of Hong Kong, per The New York Times. Accordingly, he is said to be the “most high-profile person” to be arrested and detained following the implementation of the new national security law.
The arrest of Jimmy Lai and seven others
Aljazeera reports on the narrative of Lai’s arrest, highlighting that there were 10 police officers who arrived at the media mogul’s home around 7 a.m. local time, or 23:00 GMT, on Sunday.
Lai, who is 72-years-old, is said to be arrested due to colluding with “foreign powers,” according to Mark Simon, who is a senior executive at Lai’s Next Media group.
Next Digital boss Jimmy Lai arrested over alleged foreign collusion
— Apple Daily HK 蘋果日報 (@appledaily_hk) August 10, 2020
The media outlet further reports on the force’s basis for arrest, which was tweeted on its Twitter account, saying, “Offences include collusion with a foreign country/external elements to endanger national security, Article 29 of the NSL.. Investigation is underway.”
The mentioned article, reportedly, refers to “alleged offences, including receiving any kind of support – directly or indirectly – from people overseas, and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.”
Meanwhile, at the Apple Daily’s headquarters, The New York Times highlights that they’ve live-streamed the raid of more than 100 police officers, rummaging through the desks of journalists.
Inside @appledaily_hk HQs, reporters are being lined up, having their badges checked and personal information recorded by police, who claimed to be doing so in order to "confirm they are staff working here". pic.twitter.com/hyFDGRrg0d
— Xinqi Su 蘇昕琪 (@XinqiSu) August 10, 2020
Jimmy Lai’s two sons were also arrested, even though they are not affiliated with Apple Daily. This led to the assumption that the authorities are also investigating Lai’s private investments.
Accordingly, a few other senior Next Digital employees are being questioned in their homes as well.
Beijing’s new security law
Last month, the Hong Kong leaders reminded the people of the vigorous implementation of a “controversial new national security law” imposed by Beijing.
The said law allegedly aims to targets “what authorities in mainland China define as secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces. Those violating the law could face up to life in prison,” per DW.
The news publication quotes Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam in a press conference, saying, “I forewarn those radicals not to attempt to violate this law, or cross the red line, because the consequences of breaching this law are very serious.”
Lai’s company is said to be a “fiercely pro-democracy newspaper.” The news outlet has since been taking on the Chinese leadership and on the Hong Kong government.
In fact, Chinese-run media outlets have also mocked Lai for the past few years.
Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons