Billionaire media tycoon and Hong Kong protest-backer Jimmy Lai has been arrested on suspicion of “collusion with foreign powers.” Police also searched the offices of his Apple Daily tabloid, under the new national security law.
According to a senior executive at Lai’s media company Next Digital, Mark Simon, the prominent 71yo mogul and supporter of the anti-Beijing movement in Hong Kong, was arrested Monday morning.
“Jimmy Lai is being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time,” Simon said. Hong Kong police confirmed the arrest of seven suspects, on offences including collusion with foreign powers, but did not name them.
Police said further arrests are possible as an Apple Daily source told Reuters their office and houses of several employees were being searched.
Beijing passed a new national security law in June, which allowed it to tackle anti-government protests in Hong Kong. The legislation was passed after months of mass protests and rioting that attracted the support of many Western countries – something that China perceives as interference in its internal affairs.
Last week, the US announced sanctions against 11 Chinese officials, including Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, accusing them of curtailing the city’s autonomy and violating the rights of its citizens amid the anti-Beijing protests there.