Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai who rose from rags to riches was arrested on Monday as his newspaper Apple Daily was raided by police based on the charges of violating the territory’s new national security law which is brought down by China to suppress the pro democratic voices raising against the country’s dominance on Hong Kong. Since protests against Hong Kong’s national security law began last year, Lai has prominently supported the pro-democracy movement.
Jimmy Lai is a self-styled “troublemaker” who has been a thorn in Beijing’s side for decades thanks to his caustic tabloids and unapologetic support for democracy. According to China’s Global Times, two of Lai’s sons and two senior executives of Next Digital have also been arrested by Hong Kong police. Under the clauses of new national security law, an individuals’ foreign citizenship is not going to protect them from Beijing’s long arm serving to crack down on anyone it deems a threat to its own geopolitical goals, and this became clear in the case of Lai.
His two primary titles the Apple Daily newspaper and the digital only Next magazine openly back democracy protests in a city where competitors either support Beijing or tread a far more cautious line. The two publications have been largely devoid of advertisements for years as brands steer clear of incurring Beijing’s wrath, Jimmy Lai plugging the losses with his own cash.
But they are popular, offering a heady mix of celebrity news, sex scandals and genuine investigations such as a recent series looking at how the houses of some senior police officers violated building codes. Jimmy Lai said he was determined to stay in Hong Kong even once the security law came in. “The only thing we can do is persist, not to lose spirit or hope,” he said. “And to think that what is right will eventually prevail.”