Hong Kong police have raided the private office of media tycoon and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai, according to a senior executive at Lai's Next Digital and Apple Daily.
Mark Simon told the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) that 14 police officers raided Lai's private office in Kowloon Millennium City on Oct. 15 after presenting a search warrant. He said the raid was connected to the police's investigation into Lai's private companies.
Simon, who is in Taiwan, announced on Twitter
that he had asked police over the phone to wait until the company's lawyer arrived. "They did not, they took documents & departed before our lawyer arrived," he said. "No contacts, no names of police provided."
Lai, 71, was arrested on Aug. 10
"on suspicion of collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger [China's] national security, conspiracy to defraud, and other offenses," in violation of the city’s new so-called national security law imposed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing, according to a statement released by the Hong Kong Police force.
Next Digital is an investment holding company founded by Lai that mainly focuses on media and publishing businesses. It publishes Apple Daily, a tabloid known for its critical coverage of the CCP and the current pro-Beijing Hong Kong government during the past year of mass protests.
HKFP on Oct. 15 that it was "publicly known" that Lai had been using funds from his private businesses to keep Apple Daily afloat, even though business operations of the company are not at the Kowloon office.
He said on Twitter
that the purpose of the raid was that the Carrie Lam government is "trying to make civil disputes into criminal cases" and "more ominously [to] shut off funds Mr. Lai uses to support Apple Daily."
"By the way, this office is 600 sq ft. 14 cops on raid. So 1 cop per 42 sq ft. Increase of popo per square ft density over Apple raid," he noted. Simon also is wanted by Hong Kong police.
Hong Kong police didn't immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment on the situation.
Yinyin Liao contributed to this report.