Hong Kong media magnate Jimmy Lai was arrested this morning over suspicion of collusion with foreign forces under Hong Kong's new national security law, according to a colleague who posted on Twitter.
Mark Simon, a senior executive at Lai's company Next Digital, stated on Twitter at 7:15 am that Lai had been arrested, later adding that police were executing search warrants on the homes of Lai and his son Ian, as well as the newsroom of the Lai-founded newspaper Apple Daily.
Jimmy Lai is being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time.— Mark Simon (@HKMarkSimon) August 9, 2020
As of this time the police are in the homes of Mr. Lai and his son executing search warrants.— Mark Simon (@HKMarkSimon) August 10, 2020
Other members of the group have been detained or taken in for questioning. It’s a press scrum at Mr. Lai’s home now so info locally will come out.
Police now at Apple Daily building. Executing Search Warrent on 2nd floor, Newsroom floor.— Mark Simon (@HKMarkSimon) August 10, 2020
Apple Daily has reported that Ian Lai was also arrested. Other media outlets are reporting that police have confirmed seven arrests this morning without confirming the names of those taken into custody.
Jimmy Lai was one of 25 people charged on Friday over their attendance of a banned June 4 vigil marking the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. He was also arrested and then released on bail in February, when authorities cited illegal assembly at an anti-government protest in August of 2019. That arrest pre-dated the new security law, which gives the government sweeping powers to target secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, and includes penalties as severe as life imprisonment.
In June, Lai told AFP that he saw the law as a "death knell for Hong Kong" and that he was prepared for prison. “If it comes, I will have the opportunity to read books I haven’t read. The only thing I can do is to be positive," AFP reported he said.