Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested under national security law: Report
Jimmy Lai’s media group and Apple Daily backed the pro-democracy protests that rocked the city last year, but it’s been years since he was seen as playing a central role in Hong Kong’s democracy movement.Updated: Aug 10, 2020 07:12 IST
Hong Kong police arrested media tycoon and prominent democracy activist Jimmy Lai under a national security law passed in late June for allegedly colluding with foreign forces, local media reported.
The arrest was reported by Apple Daily, the flagship newspaper under Lai’s media network Next Digital Ltd., as well as TVB.
China called the security legislation, which bars subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces in the former British colony, a “sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of its most outspoken critics. It has prompted fears among activists and foreign governments that it will be used to silence basic freedoms in the city.
Lai’s media group and Apple Daily backed the pro-democracy protests that rocked the city last year, but it’s been years since he was seen as playing a central role in Hong Kong’s democracy movement. Lai had earlier been arrested in February on suspicion of participating in an unlawful assembly in 2019 and intimidating a reporter two years before that, and was granted police bail.
The U.S. has led foreign governments in expressing concern over the law, saying Hong Kong could no longer be considered sufficiently autonomous from the mainland. It has begun revoking its so-called special trading privileges, which help underpin its reputation as an international business hub, and sanctioned Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam as well as other officials last week.
Lam has defended the national security law and called it the “most important” development in relations between Hong Kong and Beijing since the city’s handover to Chinese rule in 1997.