Hong Kong: Pro-democracy media tycoon, Jimmy Lai, arrested under new security law

Jimmy Lai, the high profile chairman of Next Gen and founder of Apple Daily, was arrested on the morning of August 10 on allegations of collusion with foreign powers. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on the Hong Kong government to stop intimidating dissidents and drop all charges against Jimmy Lai.

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai. Credit: Anthony Wallace/ AFP

Jimmy Lai, known to be critical of the Hong Kong government, was arrested at his house at around 7 a.m. Police also arrested Jimmy Lai’s son and other members of Lai’s media group. Next Media Group publishes Apple Daily, a widely-known pro-democracy newspaper and website.

Jimmy Lai, who supported pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year, is being  held under the controversial new security law. The law, which came into effect on June 30, allows the authorities to punish protesters and diminish Hong Kong’s autonomy. The law’s 66 articles remained secret until it was passed. Under the articles, authorities can criminalise any act of subversion, any actions deemed to undermine Beijing’s authority as well as any act of collusion with foreign powers.

In an  interview in mid-June, Lai has described the new law as “a death knell for Hong Kong and it will supersede or destroy our rule of law and destroy the international financial status.” Although he has stated he is prepared to go to prison, he has worried that authorities would target his journalists.

This is not the first arrest for Lai. He was also arrested on June 11 on incitement charges relating to the Tiananmen commemoration vigil. On April 18, he was arrested and charged for his role in the unlawful assembly during the Hong Kong protests in 2019.

The IFJ said: The authorities must stop all the forms of intimidation against the media and supporters of democracy. The IFJ urges the Hong Kong government to immediately release Jimmy Lai and drop all charges against him.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram