Hong Kong police detained media tycoon Jimmy Lai and raided the writer’s headquarters Monday from the highest-profile use nonetheless of a new federal safety legislation Beijing levied around the city in June.
“Jimmy Lai has been detained for collusion with foreign forces at this moment,” Mark Simon, an executive of Lai’s media team along with his aide, composed on Twitter.
Masked and sporting a blue shirt and a light gray blazer, Lai was directed from his mansion at Kowloon by police officials wearing surgical masks and has been removed. The 71-year old possesses popular tabloid Apple Daily and can be a vocal pro-democracy figure in Hong Kong who routinely criticises China’s authoritarian rule.
Hong Kong authorities said seven individuals between 39 and 72 years old was detained on suspicion of breaking up the new security legislation, together with offences such as collusion with a foreign nation, but the announcement didn’t disclose the names of those detained. The authorities didn’t rule out further arrests being made.
The movement, coming days following the U.S. government declared sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland Chinese officials, reveals China’s decision to proceed forward with all law despite external pressure.
The officers withdrew the sanctions, which could have limited technical impact, with one stating that being termed by the U.S. revealed he had been doing the proper thing for Hong Kong and China. They’ve denied any criticism of Hong Kong coverage as foreign interference in China’s domestic affairs.
Simon said police hunted both Lai’s and his son’s house, and arrested several different members of press bunch Next Digital, that Lai founded.
It wasn’t immediately clear how Lai or many others in the paper might have colluded with foreign forces since the legislation went into effect.
Last calendar year, Lai fulfilled Vice President of the United States Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the White House to talk about Hong Kong’s contentious legislation — because pulled — which could have enabled criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial.
However Hong Kong officials also have stated that the federal security legislation, which took effect June 30, wouldn’t be implemented retroactively. The law is broadly regarded as a way to curb dissent following anti-government protests rocked the semi-autonomous town for months this past year.
More than a hundred authorities also raided Next Digital’s headquarters at Hong Kong, entering the newsroom and hunting desks. It wasn’t clear exactly what the authorities were searching for at the headquarters. Simon stated in a tweet the authorities were using a search warrant.
Sometimes, officials seemed to input into heated exchanges with adjoining Digital staff present in the scene. Police also cordoned off the headquarters while the raid has been ran.
Next Digital functions the Apple Daily tabloid, which Lai based in 1995, before Britain’s handover of Hong Kong into China. Much like Lai, Apple Daily has a powerful pro-democracy stance and frequently urged its readers to share in pro-democracy protests.
The safety law outlaws secessionist, subversive and terrorist actions, in addition to collusion with foreign forces from the town’s internal affairs. The greatest punishment for serious criminals is life imprisonment.
Last month, Chinese broadcaster CCTV stated pro-democracy activist Nathan Law and others were desired under the legislation, but all six had fled abroad. Legislation had jumped to Britain in July to keep global advocacy work.