Hong Kong police raid major news organisation, arrest billionaire owner
Hong Kong police have arrested billionaire media tycoon Jimmy Lai on national security charges and raided his Apple Daily
Reporters were told to stop broadcasting live as up to 200 police entered the Apple Daily
newsroom on Monday morning. Police rifled through desks and banned journalists from attempting to entering executive offices before cordoning off key sections of the newsroom with tape.
Hong Kong police raid the Apple Daily headquarters on MondayCREDIT:TWITTERLive broadcasts of the raid
on the Apple Daily
YouTube channel showed a handcuffed Lai being taken through the newsroom by Hong Kong police two hours after his arrest on charges of colluding with foreign forces.Apple Daily
reporters said no search warrant was presented before dozens of officers piled up the office's staircase on Monday morning.
Lai, 71, is the highest profile person to be charged under the new national security laws imposed by Beijing which punish dissent with sentences of up to life in prison.
Hong Kong police cordon off the Apple Daily newsroom on Monday. CREDIT:APPLE DAILY
"Jimmy Lai is being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time," Mark Simon, a senior executive at Lai's media company Next Digital, which publishes Apple Daily
, said on Monday.
Shares in Next Digital plunged by 11 per cent on the news of Lai's arrest. Founded in 1995, Apple Daily
is the second most-widely read newspaper in Hong Kong and editorialises in favour of the pro-democracy movement.
Lai was also arrested this year on illegal assembly charges, along with other leading activists, relating to protests last year.
Media tycoon Jimmy Lai at a protest march. Lai is one of the few prominent Hong Kong business people openly supporting the protesters.CREDIT:GETTY
In an interview with Reuters in May, Lai pledged to stay in Hong Kong and continue to fight for democracy even though he expected to be one of the targets of the new legislation.
Before Monday, 15 people had been arrested under the law, including four aged 16-21 late last month over posts on social media.
The new legislation has sent a chill through Hong Kong, affecting many aspects of life. Activists have disbanded their organisations, while some have fled the city altogether.
Slogans have been declared illegal, certain songs and activities such as forming human chains have been banned in schools, and books have been taken off shelves in public libraries.
Hong Kong authorities have also issued arrest warrants for six pro-democracy activists who fled the city and who police suspect violated the new security law.https://www.theage.com.au/world/asia/hong-kong-police-raid-major-news-organisation-arrest-billionaire-owner-20200810-p55k9h.html