Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, known for his support of the city’s pro-democracy movement and criticism of China, has been arrested on suspicion of “colluding” with foreign forces, according to local police.
The offense was created by a new national security law imposed on the city by Beijing last month. Lai’s business partner Mark Simon said the tycoon was arrested early Monday.
By Monday evening, Hong Kong police had arrested at least 10 people, aged 23 to 72, on suspicion of collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security, conspiracy to defraud and other offenses, according to a police statement.
A police spokesman told CNN earlier in the day that Lai was among them and that he had been arrested on suspicion of collusion. The police statement noted that the investigation was continuing and that more arrests could be made. Pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow was also among those arrested, a police spokesperson said.
According to public broadcaster RTHK, those arrested include several top executives at Apple Daily — potentially a major blow to the newspaper’s operations in the city.
A livestream uploaded to Facebook by Apple Daily showed police searching the company’s newsroom. A police spokesperson confirmed to CNN that the agency had a search warrant to enter Apple Daily’s office.
Under the new security law, which was imposed on the city by Beijing last month, the offense of colluding with foreign powers carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Lai has strong ties to Washington and has lobbied for the United States to take a harder line on China. What he has done to contravene the law since it took effect in July is unclear.
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SOURCE: CNN, James Griffiths and Eric Cheung