71 years old Lai is among seven people detained on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces, one of the new national security offenses.
Hong Kong| Jimmy Lai, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy media tycoon, was arrested Monday and led in handcuffs through his newspaper office. Police raided the building in a crackdown on dissent since China imposed a security law on the city.
71 years old Lai as among seven people detained on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces, one of the new national security offenses, and fraud in an operation targeting his Next Digital publishing group.
Under the sweeping new law introduced at the end of June, Lai’s arrest was the latest police operation against dissidents. A police source also told AFP that two of Lai’s sons were also detained.
Journalists working Apple Daily, Lai’s newspaper, took to Facebook to broadcast dramatic footage of some 200 police officers carrying out the raid. The broadcast also showed the newspaper’s chief editor Law Wai-kwong demanding a warrant from officers.
“Tell your colleagues to keep their hands off until our lawyers check the warrant,” he was seen in the video telling the police.
As officers conducted searches across the newsroom, Apple’s staff were ordered to leave their seats and line up so police could check their identities.
The police also said that the raid was conducted on the basis of court warrant which they showed to the staff.
The president of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Chris Yeung, described the police action as “shocking and terrifying”.
He said, “This is unprecedented, and would be unimaginable only one or two months ago.”
However, Apple’s editor Lai sent a note to staff later, seen by AFP, telling his reporters to “stand by their posts” as he vowed to get the latest edition printed despite the raid.