Hong Kong police arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai and raided the publisher's headquarters Monday in the highest-profile use yet of the new national security law Beijing imposed on the city in June, the AP reports. “Jimmy Lai is being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time,” Mark Simon, an executive of Lai's media group and his aide, wrote on Twitter. Lai, masked and wearing a blue shirt and a light gray blazer, was led out of his mansion in Kowloon by police officers also wearing surgical masks and was taken away. Hong Kong police said seven people between 39 and 72 years old had been arrested on suspicion of violating the new security law, with offenses including collusion with a foreign country, but the statement did not reveal the names of those arrested. The police did not rule out further arrests to be made.
Lai, 71, owns popular tabloid Apple Daily and is an outspoken pro-democracy figure in Hong Kong who regularly criticizes China’s authoritarian rule. The national security law came into effect June 30 and is widely seen as a means to curb dissent after anti-government protests rocked the semi-autonomous city for months last year. Simon said police searched both Lai's and his son’s home, and detained several other members of media group Next Digital, which Lai founded. Over a hundred police also raided Next Digital's headquarters in Hong Kong, entering the newsroom and searching the desks. It was not clear what the police were looking for in the headquarters. Simon said in a tweet that the police were executing a search warrant. At times, officers appeared to get into heated exchanges with Next Digital staff present at the scene. Police also cordoned off headquarters while the raid was being conducted.
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