08/12/2020, 12.08
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Jimmy Lai, his sons and Agnes Chow released on bail. Police arrest protesters and block journalists

by Paul Wang

Shares of the Apple Daily climb by 1300%. Demonstrations against the arrests in Mong Kok and Shatin. Police increasingly violent. Denunciation of the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Business mogul Jimmy Lai, his two sons Ian and Timothy, and democracy activist Agnes Chow were released on bail over several hours last night. 

Along with six other people, they had been arrested two days ago for violating the new security law. Jimmy Lai, founder of theApple Daily newspaper, and his sons were arrested for "collusion with foreign forces" and also for "fraud"; Chow for "colluding with foreign forces" through social media. The headquarters of Lai’s newspaper was also subjected to raid and search with a huge deployment of police forces: at least 200.

Lai and his two sons were released a few hours after midnight and made no comment.

Agnes Chow (photo 4), was released before midnight and immediately denounced the government's use of the new national security law "to suppress political dissidence".

There was a group of young people waiting for Jimmy Lai outside, who held aloft the front page of his newspaper and shouted the slogan "We support Apple Daily" (see photo 2).

Yesterday, the newspaper's stock market shares rose again for a hike of 1300% in value over two days, after an appeal by the Democratic front to support the newspaper, known for its frankness and caustic criticism of the Chinese leadership.

There were also demonstrations last night in support of those arrested in Mong Kok and Shatin. A 71-year-old man was arrested in Mong Kong. The police accuse him of attacking a policeman. The man, on the other hand, accuses the police of beating him up and he was taken to Kwong Wah Hospital.

At least 29 people in Mong Kong and seven in Shatin have been fined for violating the ban on gatherings, imposed because of the coronavirus.

A young journalist, a university student at the Polytechnic, was beaten up by the police, who blocked him, knocked him to the ground and immobilized him by pressing one knee to his neck.

The young man says that the police had searched him and accused him of not respecting the rules of social distancing.

Violence against journalists has now become normalized for the Hong Kong police. But now, with the security law, it has broad coverage. The Association of Journalists today accused the police today of excessive use of force. In addition to the incident with the young reporter, it cites what happened last night at 9 pm in Nathan Road: a large number of journalists were gathered in a cordoned area and were asked to stop filming and show their press pass. Those who didn't - like several student journalists  - were fined.

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