Jimmy Lai, the influential Hong Kong businessman who runs the listed media company Next Digital and its tabloid-style paper Apple Daily, has become one of the most high-profile arrests under the controversial new security law imposed by China.
Lai’s newspaper offices were also raided by more than 200 police officers, according to the BBC, with several other arrests taking place, citing “suspicion of collusion with foreign forces”.
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Lai is a UK citizen. He has been a prominent pro-democracy supporter during the political protests that first began in the territory last year and was previously hit with charges related to attending an anti-government march. Lai has also been a vocal critic of the Hong Kong government and Beijing’s increasing influence in the territory. He was granted police bail following his arrest today.
Introduced on June 30, the new security law grants China increased powers to police the territory, which has maintained a strong degree of autonomy since it was returned to Chines rule in 1997. Critics of the bill say it will suppress freedoms of Hong Kong residents. Responses have included UK PM Boris Johnson introducing a bespoke British visa for Hong Kong citizens.
According to Bloomberg, Lai’s Next Digital saw share prices rise as much as 344% following his arrest.
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