Jimmy Lai, Hong Kong Media Tycoon, Arrested

  • Nearly 200 police officers arrived at Next Media’s building in Tseung Kwan O for searches.
  • Hong Kong One Media founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying was arrested in the apartment on the morning of August 10.
  • Other members of the Next Media Group have been arrested or taken away by the police for questioning.

Hong Kong’s National Security Law has been implemented for more than one month. On the morning of August 10, the National Security Office of the police arrested seven people, including Jimmy Lai Chee-ying of Next Media, and accused them of colluding with foreign forces.

Lai Chee-Ying, known professionally as Jimmy Lai, is a Hong Kong entrepreneur. He founded Giordano, an Asian clothing retailer, Next Digital (formerly Next Media), a Hong Kong-listed media company, and popular newspaper Apple Daily. He is one of the main contributors to the pro-democracy camp, especially to the Democratic Party.

Afterward, nearly 200 police officers arrived at Next Media’s building in Tseung Kwan O for searches. Mark Simon, a senior executive at Lai’s Next Media group, said on Twitter that the tycoon was “being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time.”

According to multiple Hong Kong media reports, Hong Kong One Media founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying was arrested in the apartment on the morning of August 10. “Offences include collusion with a foreign country/external elements to endanger national security, Article 29 of the NSL. An investigation is underway,” the police force posted on its official Twitter account.

Li Jianen and Li Yaoen were also arrested by the police at the residence for the same charges. News sources also pointed out that several senior executives of One Media were also arrested, including executive directors Zhang Jianhong and Zhou Daquan. Simon, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s right-hand man, is also wanted by the police.

Simon also wrote on Twitter that the Hong Kong police are currently conducting searches at Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s residence, while other members of the Next Media Group have been arrested or taken away by the police for questioning.

He said, “at present, there are a large number of media stationed outside Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s residence, so more information will be spread out in Hong Kong.”

“This sends out a very negative message and, of course, it must have a chilling effect on people who would want to speak out and particularly on the news media,” veteran Democratic Party politician Emily Lau told Al Jazeera. “This is a very, very dusturbing development.”

The source told reporters that in addition to being accused of colluding with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security, the Hong Kong police also accused Jimmy Lai Chee-ying of conspiracy to defraud and incitement.

Zhou Daquan, the chief operating officer of Next Media Group, has also been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

The Hong Kong national security law is a decision adopted by the third session of the thirteenth National People’s Congress, to authorize the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) to promulgate a national security law in Hong Kong. The pan-democratic camp, human rights organisations and politicians abroad have criticised the decision as a threat to the “one country, two systems” principle, the rule of law and civil liberties.

Five other persons arrested, including Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s eldest son and three other senior officials from Next Media Group, have also been charged by the police with conspiracy to commit fraud. Li Zhiying’s second son, Li Yaoen, was accused of colluding with foreign countries or foreign forces.

The Hong Kong police led nearly 200 police officers to the Next Media building in Tseung Kwan O at about 10 a.m. to conduct a search. The administration department of Apple Daily informed colleagues that due to an emergency in the office, colleagues do not have to go to work. The Apple Daily reporter in the office continued to broadcast live broadcasts while the police continued to search.

The police constantly looked through the documents on the desk at the scene and claimed to have a search order given by the court. The reporters on the scene kept asking the police to show the search order, and the police emphasized that they would give an account on the matter later.

At present,  Jimmy Lai Chee-ying has been taken back to the headquarters of Apple Daily and taken to the office on the second floor. There were also employees in the Apple Daily’s office that had physical conflicts with the police on the scene due to the blockade.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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