Hong Kong authorities arrested a prominent pro-democracy media mogul on Monday, another sign that the sweeping national security law imposed by China last month is stifling the territory’s freedoms.
Jimmy Lai was detained Monday over allegations of colluding with foreign powers. Lai is the found and owner of Next Digital, which publishes Apple Daily, a Hong Kong publication that has backed the pro-democracy protests. Lai himself has been outspoken in his support for the pro-democracy camp and has been arrested before for allegedly participating in an unauthorized pro-democracy protest.
Two of Lai’s sons were also arrested Monday, along with Cheung Kim-hung, Next Digital’s CEO. Agnes Chow, a high-profile leader in Hong Kong’s democracy movement, was also detained. In total, Hong Kong authorities said at least 10 people, ages 23 to 72, were arrested on national-security and other charges, including advocating for foreign sanctions.
Lai is one of the most notable figures arrested under the new national security law that went into effect July 1. The law gives China broad powers to crack down on dissent, which includes loosely defined crimes of “secession, subversion, organization and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements.” It also carries harsh penalties, including the potential for life imprisonment.