Hong Kong, Feb 28 (ANI): Media mogul and founder of Hong Kong-based Apple Daily, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, was arrested on Friday for his alleged involvement in anti-government protests in the city last year.
Jimmy, an outspoken critic of Beijing, was arrested along with two other pro-democracy activists on charges of illegal assembly during the protests, and for intimidating a reporter at an event years ago, South China Morning Post reported.
A police source said the 71-year-old was held as part of an operation targeting those involved in a march on August 31 last year, amid the unrest sparked in June by the now-withdrawn extradition bill. The controversial legislation had demanded the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China for further jurisdiction.
Lai was also accused of intimidating an Oriental Daily reporter using foul language in June 2017, during the June 4 vigil held that year in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay. The newspaper said its journalist had repeatedly reported the incident to police, sending 17 letters.
However, after almost five hours in detention, Lai was granted bail.
The assembly on August 31 was originally organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, which holds the city's biggest anti-government events. But the front cancelled it after losing its appeal against a police ban.
Meanwhile, veteran democracy activists Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum were also arrested earlier today on similar charges, the state media reported.
Hong Kong saw one of its worst clashes on August 31, with police firing tear gas and water cannon at pro-democracy protesters who threw petrol bombs.
Authorities here had arrested more than 7,000 people for their involvement in the protests, many on charges of rioting that can carry jail terms of up to 10 years. It is unclear how many are still in custody.
Public anger has grown over the months due to perceptions of China tightening its grip over the city. Beijing denies meddling and blames the West for fomenting unrest. (ANI)