Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai arrested on collusion charges

Hong Kong hotel operators have called on the government to waive rents and even allow properties to offer empty rooms on long-term leases, or for sale, as a way of survival amid a steep decline in occupancy and rates brought on by 16 weeks of protests in the city. Photo: Bloomberg. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HONG KONG, Aug 10, 2020, Kyodo. Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai and his younger son were arrested Monday for alleged collusion with foreign forces under a sweeping national security law recently imposed by China, Kyodo News reported.

The arrest of Lai, one of the most famous democracy activists and critics of the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong, is the highest-profile police operation yet using the security law, which entered into force in the territory on June 30.

The Apple Daily, founded by Lai, said police detained the pair along with a handful of employees of the newspaper. Lai was handcuffed while taken away from his residence by police, according to the newspaper.

Some 200 police officers later searched the daily’s headquarters, it said.

The police said in a statement that at least seven men were arrested “on suspicion of collusion with a foreign country/external elements to endanger national security, conspiracy to defraud and other offences,” and that more arrests could be made.

Lai, along with 14 other democracy activists, had already been indicted for organizing and inciting people to join several unauthorized protests last year.

Four student activists were arrested last month for alleged secession and incitement for setting up and inciting others to join a foreign organization advocating for Hong Kong independence.

Six other activists who are outside Hong Kong were also placed on a wanted list for inciting secession and collusion with foreign forces, the first time police have invoked the extraterritorial provision under the security law.

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