The pro-democracy campaign in Hong Kong is continuing at a strong pace especially at a time when the most famous critics of the ruling Communist Party are being locked up for raising their voices against the government.
Next Digital is the company owned by Jimmy Lai. The 71-year-old Lai along with Next Digital’s two different executives was detained on Wednesday. Apple Daily is published by Next Digital. It is one of the very few independent news channels in Hong Kong which openly takes a pro-democracy stance.
On the charges of fraud, these three people were arrested overnight. As per the prosecutor, the executives established Lai’s private office in the same building where he rented some space for his publication. This was done to defraud the landlord, but this move went against them as the lease of Next Digital mentioned a point contradicting this move.
Lai’s former business friend and confidant Mark Simon said that the problem was an ongoing commercial dispute. The authorities have forcefully criminalized the dispute. This year, the government of China has taken a step forward to crush the movement in favor of democracy in Hong Kong by eliminating political opposition. Notably, the Chinese government is planning to do this by implementing the recent national security law. This law permits penalties for life imprisonment for crimes that are vaguely defined as foreign interference or secession.
Lai was arrested for the fourth time this year. The first arrest was made in February, after which it was done in April, and August 2020.