Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai arrested for ‘conspiracy’
Hong Kong, Aug 10 (efe-epa).- Hong Kong media mogul and founder of the newspaper Apple Daily Jimmy Lai was arrested Monday at his Hong Kong home for “foreign conspiracy” and “use of seditious words” his closest collaborators reported on social media.
Lai, whose publication is often critical of Beijing, was detained by agents of the new police unit created to enforce the national security law approved by China last June.
The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post pointed out that the tycoon was arrested for allegedly violating that security law, approved by the National People’s Congress (ANP, Chinese legislature) and criticized by the pro-democracy movement, which considers that it could end freedoms in the former British colony.
According to this source, another 10 people are expected to be arrested Monday, in what would be the third series of arrests since the law came into force on June 30.
Other local media indicated that seven other people have already been arrested for violating the national security law.
Born in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, Lai started his fortune in the textile industry and later entered the media sector and founded the Apple Daily, known for its critical positions on Beijing and support of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
When he was indicted earlier this year for his participation in the 2019 protest rallies in the city, official Chinese media called him “the mind in the shadow of the unrest.”
On Jun. 30, when the national security law came into effect, Lai called the new regulations “the death sentence for Hong Kong” and said he was “prepared to go to jail.”
Hong Kong has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy since it returned to Chinese sovereignty from Britain in 1997, and its citizens enjoy rights such as freedom of speech and the press, which are unthinkable in mainland China.
The national security law establishes penalties of life imprisonment for the crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism or “conspiring with foreign forces.”
The Hong Kong pro-democracy movement considers that the regulations will make it possible to punish dissidents and reduce the autonomy and freedoms of the territory, while Beijing affirms that it will restore stability lost in the city after the 2019 riots. EFE-EPA