Media tycoon and activist Jimmy Lai (黎智英) yesterday said that Hong Kong police raided one of his private offices, months after he was arrested under a new National Security Law and the newsroom of his Apple Daily was stormed.
Investigators “took away everything,” Lai told Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) before a court appearance.
The Next Digital founder said he did not know what officers were looking for and accused police of not acting in accordance with the law.
“I have no comments,” Lai said, according to RTHK. “I don’t know what their intention is. They wanted to collect, they wanted get something to go against me. I don’t know what it is.”
Lai faces multiple criminal investigations related to his participation in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
His court appearance was over illegal assembly charges related to a vigil held on June 4, the anniversary of Beijing’s crackdown on activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The Hong Kong Police Force did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fourteen investigators raided the office, took documents and departed before a lawyer could arrived, Next Digital Group director Mark Simon wrote on Twitter.
Police were “still trying to make civil disputes into criminal cases & more ominously shut off funds Mr. Lai uses to support Apple Daily,” Simon said.
Shares of Next Digital increased 10 percent in Hong Kong trading, after jumping as much as 38 percent immediately after reports of the raid.
The media company had soared more than 1,100 percent over two days in August as people bought the stock to show their support for Lai after his arrest.
Lai’s arrest under the sweeping new security legislation enacted by Beijing sent shockwaves through a territory where the safety of basic freedoms of speech are being increasingly questioned.
So did a raid by dozens of officers on his flagship paper, the Apple Daily, which was streamed on live video.
In a separate case, Lai was last month found not guilty of criminal intimidation of a reporter in 2017. The government has appealed that verdict.
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