Why Jimmy Lai, the Media Tycoon Arrested in Hong Kong?



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Lai Chee Ying, known professionally as Jimmy Lai, is a Hong Kong entrepreneur. He founded Giordano, an Asian clothing retailer, Next Digital, a Hong Kong listed Media Company, and popular newspaper Apple daily.
Lai is a longtime champion of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. He was arrested by Hong Kong government because he:

All You Need to Know About National Security Law?

Hong Kong was always meant to have a security law, but could never pass one because it was so unpopular. The details of law’s 66 articles were kept secret until it was passed because it criminalizes any act of:

1. Secession- breaking away from country
2. Subversion- undermining the power or authority of central government
3. Terrorism- using violence or intimidation against people
4. Collusion with foreign or external forces

How Jimmy Lai is related to Breaking of National Security Law?

Lai has supported the pro-democracy movement and Hong Kong police said that he had been charged because he violated the territory’s new National Security Law.

1. Lai, the media tycoon, has been a target of new legislation. Born on Chinese mainland and at the age of 12, he was smuggled into Hong Kong on a fishing boat.

2. He established himself very well in the business of textile factory by the age of 25 and he started manufacturing sweaters for major US retailers.

3. Lai had been a frequent visitor to America where he met with the senior officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to rally support for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a ‘traitor’.

4. Apple Daily has been hit by dwindling advertising revenue as well as frequent attacks by pro-Beijing voices in the city.

5. In an interview, he also stated that he will continue to fight for the democracy of Hong Kong even if he will be expected to be a target of new legislation.

“What I have, the place gave me, and I will fight on till the last day. It will be an honor if I……sacrifice”, Lai said.
6. Lai had already been arrested twice this year on illegal assembly charges, relating to anti-government protests.

When and Where Lai Been Arrested?

Hong Kong Lai, the media tycoon and activist had been arrested in an operation that spanned more than 12hours. His newsroom was also raided under National Security Law that China recently imposed on Hong Kong.

According to the company’s official Facebook page and his stream of raid, officers arrived at Lai’s home, questions him and his son and arrest them. More than 200 policeman entered Next Digital’s office and searched Apple’s Daily newsroom.
They rifled reporters’ desks and told them to show their identification cards and they warned journalists to stop filming and shooting the raid. After the operation was over, they seized 25 boxes of material.

All You Need To Know about Jimmy Lai Political Activity

Lai is always been a champion of the pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong. What led Lai to fight for the pursuit of freedom is his reading of The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek.

His excellence can be seen from his business ventures, such as distributing t-shirts from Giordano with portraits of student leaders. Because of this high profile, he got the support for pro-democracy movement which came under strong condemnation from the Chinese government.

Lai suffers many hostile attacks which include machetes, axes and threatening messages. His car was rammed and his home was firebombed several times, most recently in 2019.

Activist feel that this is all happening because of the Hong Kong Police Force and Hong Kong Government controlled by Chinese  government since the handover in 1997 and whose culprits are rarely found.

Most recent on 28 February, he was arrested for illegal assembly during his attendance in 2019-20 protests. He was arrested on the basis of suspicion of organizing, publicizing or taking part in several unauthorized assemblies.

3 Big Successes of Jimmy Lai

Apple Daily

It was first published on 2 May 2003. It is the first newspaper in Hong Kong which is published 365 days a year and the only newspaper to subject circulation audit from Audit Bureau of Circulation. Apple Daily became an online newspaper on 4 April 2019 and it started charging a subscription fee of NT$10 monthly following a trial period.

Giordano (store)

Giordano International Limited is a big success of Lai. It is Hong Kong based international retailer of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and accessories.
It was established in 1981, Giordano now employ about 8000 staff and over 2400 shops which is been operating in more than 30 countries and region worldwide.

Next Digital

Next Digital Limited formally known as Next Media Limited was founded by Jimmy Lai which is having more than 4000 employees and is the largest company in Hong Kong.

Written by - Simranpreet Kaur Rattu
Edited by – Adrija Saha

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