Jimmy Lai the Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon with seven others arrested under new national security law

Jimmy Lai the Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon with seven others arrested under new national security law

 Jimmy Lai the Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon with seven others arrested under new national security law
Jimmy Lai  the Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon with seven others arrested under new national security law. They were arrested for the movement, criticism of China and on suspicion of "colluding" with foreign forces, according to local police. The offense was created by a new national security law imposed on the city by Beijing last month. Jimmy Lai's business partner Mark Simon said the tycoon was arrested early Monday. Seven men in all, aged between 39 and 72, were arrested, according to a police statement, on charges including collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security, and conspiracy to commit fraud. The statement did not name any individual, but a spokesman told CNN that Lai was among them and that he had been arrested on suspicion of collusion. The "police investigation is still underway, and we cannot rule out the possibility that more people will be arrested," it added.

According to public broadcaster RTHK, those arrested include several top executives at Apple Daily — potentially a major blow to the newspaper's operations in the city. Later Monday morning, a livestream uploaded to Facebook by Apple Daily showed police searching the company's newsroom. A police spokesperson confirmed to CNN that the agency had a search warrant to enter Apple Daily's office.Under the new security law, which was imposed on the city by Beijing last month, the offense of colluding with foreign powers carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Lai has strong ties to Washington and has lobbied for the United States to take a harder line on China. What he has done to contravene the law since it passed is unclear.

This isn't Lai's first clash with Hong Kong authorities. He was arrested and faced charges earlier this year in connection with a protest march in August 2019. In June, Lai was charged with inciting people to take part in an unauthorized assembly over an annual candlelight vigil in remembrance of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. The vigil was banned by police this year. Lai's latest arrest, though, is among the first since the security law was imposed on July 1. The law criminalized subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Late last month, four members of a student-led pro-independence group were arrested for alleged secessionist offenses on social media. Ten people were also arrested during a protest on July 1.

The Hong Kong government has defended the law as necessary to protect national security. It has been denounced by human rights groups, the European Union, and the United States as overly broad and restrictive of the city's civil liberties.On Friday, the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao said in a statement that "we have repeatedly raised our grave concerns about the effect this ill-defined, vaguely worded, and far-reaching law would have on Hong Kong."

Lai's arrest also comes as tensions between the United State and China over the national security law continue to escalate. Washington imposed sanctions Friday against Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and 10 other Chinese and Hong Kong officials for undermining the city's autonomy.On Monday, Hong Kong Journalists Association chairperson Chris Yeung said that "a month or two ago, nobody could think that in Hong Kong, media organizations could be searched like this.""We never thought that this could happen in Hong Kong," he added. "This is very sad."
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