Media mogul Jimmy Lai, a major supporter of Hong Kong’s Democratic Front was released late in the evening following his arrest for violating the new National Security Law, with a $ 500,000 bail payment of Hong Kong (almost 55 thousand euros). The local media reported that shortly before, they had also reported the release on bail of Agnes Chow, a young activist and co-founder of the dissolved Demosisto party. Chow, among 10 to 10 arrested yesterday, came out of the Tai Po Police Station.
“We are deeply concerned about the arrest of Jimmy Lai” who, with his colleagues, is a “powerful voice for the fundamental rights and freedoms that Beijing has guaranteed in Hong Kong and is now systematically attacking,” said Robert. O’Brien, the National Security Advisor to US President Donald Trump, calling on China to revoke the national security law.
Jimmy Lai was arrested yesterday on charges of violating the new national security law and the pro-democracy fort of his holding Next Digital and the tabloid Apple Daily was turned upside down: Hong Kong police dealt a severe blow to the tycoon of publishing, among the most active opponents of the Chinese take on the city, taken from home in the morning and taken to the premises of the companies with handcuffs to block the wrists behind the back.
The latest law enforcement operation took the shape of the roundup at the end of the day, given the dozen people ended up in prison, including the two children of the 72-year-old tycoon, and young activists Agnes Chow, former co-founder with Joshua Wong of the now disbanded Demosisto party, and Wilson Li, former activist and freelance journalist of the British TV ITV News.
In a very late evening briefing, police explained that the move was to pursue their advocacy of foreign sanctions. “After the introduction of the National Security Act, this group was still active,” said Senior Superintendent Steven Li, the same who led the sweeps of the premises of Next Digital and Apple Daily, broadcast in a dramatic live on. Facebook by the journalists themselves with moments of tension and physical confrontation touched upon with the 200 mobilized agents, who came out with 25 plastic boxes of “material” useful for the accusations.
Beijing expressed appreciation for Lai’s arrest, seen as “an anti-China agitator” who conspired with outside forces to “increase the chaos”. Britain called itself “very worried” about the tycoon and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was “deeply concerned”.
Lai had already been arrested in February with other prominent figures on the Democratic front for participating in last year’s unauthorized protests and released on bail: in the run-up to the arrival of the national security law, he had repeatedly said ” be ready for arrest “. In 2019, and behind the heaviest charge of “collusion with foreign forces”, Lai attended a mission to the US with other Hong Kong activists seeing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and the speaker of the Room, Nancy Pelosi.
Chris Yeung, head of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, described the police action as “shocking and terrifying”, while the Foreign Correspondents’ Club spoke of “a new dark page”. According to Joshua Wong it is the “end of freedom of the press”.
In spite of external pressures, China is marching fast towards a squeeze on the former colony, responding blow by blow to the sanctions in Washington: 11 Americans, like Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, have ended up on the Beijing blacklist in retaliation for the restrictions of President Donald Trump to as many Hong Kong officials, such as Governor Carrie Lam, for her role in suppressing freedoms in the city.
Meanwhile, China has sent its military jets to Taiwan beyond the inter-narrow midline: a note from the Taipei Defense Ministry reported that the jets were guarded by anti-aircraft missiles and “repelled” by patrol aircraft. The blitz, the third of its kind since 2016, occurred while US Health Secretary Alex Azar is visiting Taipei. The raid was confirmed by the Chinese tabloid Global Times, according to which there was “a strong response to the visit of a US official. If the US and Taiwanese secessionists go further, more operations could be expected” by the army. Chinese. A warning against other “provocations”.