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. Seven people were arrested in total, including Lai’s two sons and other top members of Next Digital, Oriental Daily reported, citing unidentified people.
“The lawyers are on the way to the police station now,” Next Digital Group Director Mark Simon said in an email, following an earlier tweet that Lai had been arrested. Calls and emails placed to the Hong Kong Police went unanswered.
Jimmy Lai is being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time.
— Mark Simon (@HKMarkSimon) August 9, 2020
China has called the security legislation, which bars subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, 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 protests for meaningful elections 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 revoked some special trading privileges, which help underpin the city’s reputation as an international business hub, and sanctioned Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam as well …read more
Source:: Time – World