08/11/2020, 09.29
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong, Jimmy Lai arrested: People alongside democracy tycoon

Thousands of copies of his newspaper, Apple Daily, sold. On the back of Democratic front appeal, the tabloid's shares grow by a record 344%. Entrepreneur’s two sons also arrested. As a sign of solidarity, at least 100 people queued to buy food in the second son’s restaurant. Democratic activist Agnes Chow and journalist Wilson Li also detained.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Thousands of citizens today bought copies of Apple Daily, the newspaper of the publishing mogul Jimmy Lai who was arrested yesterday along with other pro-democracy personalities under the new security law imposed by Beijing.

The citizens thus wanted to show support for Lai, considered a hero of the democratic struggle, and anger towards the Chinese authorities. Due to the great demand, the well-known tabloid - often a critic of the Chinese regime - printed 500 thousand copies; it usually stops at 100,000.

Lai, one of the most critical voices of the Chinese Communist Party, was arrested yesterday for "collaboration with foreign forces" and "conspiracy for the purpose of fraud": he is the most prominent person arrested under the provision, which came into force on 30 June.

Two months ago Lai was already accused of "inciting an unauthorized demonstration" in August 2019; added to this is another accusation of having "incited" people to participate in the vigil last June 4 in memory of those killed in Tiananmen.

At least 200 police officers carried out a raid on the Apple Daily newsroom yesterday. For the Hong Kong Association of Journalists, the large-scale search of the newspaper is "unprecedented".

Apple Daily, which many in the former British colony see as the only newspaper ready to tell the truth, has vowed to "keep fighting" on its front page today. Immediately after Lai's arrest, the newspaper's shares plummeted by 17%. In the afternoon, after the Democratic front called on the population to support the tabloid, they rose by 344%, a record high.

In the largest round-up since the introduction of the new legislation, the police arrested 10 people. Two of his sons and four collaborators were arrested together with Lai. The police searched the "Four Seasons Meals", the restaurant of the entrepreneur's second son. The venue was reopened today; at least 100 people showed up to buy take-out food. Some of them wore yellow masks to show their support.

Police yesterday also arrested young activist Agnes Chow and freelance journalist Wilson Li. Chow is a former leader of Demosisto, the now dissolved independence group; Li is a contributor to the UK TV channel ITN, and a former member of the pro-democracy student group Scholarism.

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