Hong Kong police raided a private office of pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai on Thursday, October 15, in a move he said had disregarded the rule of law.
Lai, 71, is among more than two dozen people who have been arrested under a draconian national security law imposed by Beijing at the end of June to quell massive, often violent pro-democracy protests over the past year.
“It seems that they are looking for every possible reason to charge me,” Lai told reporters.
“The police didn’t even wait for the lawyer to come before they took things away, so that’s not rule of law,” he added.
In August, Lai was detained under the new law on suspicion of “collusion with foreign forces” and the offices of his newspaper Apple Daily were raided.
He also faces prosecution over his alleged part in last year’s protests.
On Thursday, 14 police officers raided an office of a company owned by Lai and left before lawyers arrived, senior aide Mark Simon told AFP.
“(The) goal here is to cut money off to Apple Daily,” he said.
Simon, who is also a director of the raided office, said he spoke by phone with the officers and said they ignored requests to wait for company lawyers.
Hong Kong police did not respond to requests for comment.
A few hours later, Lai appeared in court for a procedural hearing in the prosecution of some two dozen activists who took part in vigil earlier this year, marking Beijing’s deadly 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.
Apple Daily is Hong Kong’s most popular tabloid.
It is unapologetically pro-democracy and critical of both Beijing and Hong Kong’s appointed leaders.
In April, Lai said he had provided HK$550 million ($71 million) of his own money to keep the newspaper afloat. – Rappler.com
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