China passed a new security law in June in Hong Kong, which allows the country to extradite political opponents and restrict freedoms in the former British colony. The new law has sparked outrage among Hong Kong allies, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging to allow three million passport holders from the region to immigrate to the UK. Mr. Lai owns the Apple Daily newspaper and is a pro-democracy activist.
The government body also claimed that Mr. Lai conspired with foreign agents and posed a danger to national security.
Mr. Lai was arrested along with two of his sons and seven others for fraud and collusion with foreign agents.
If Mr. Lai is found guilty of the charges, he could be jailed for life.
READ MORE: Chinese threat: Taiwan fears it will become ‘next Hong Kong’ as Beijing steps up pressure
The arrest sparked an uproar in Hong Kong, with residents of the city showing their support for the billionaire.
Half a million more copies of Apple Daily were sold yesterday after Mr Lai’s arrest.
The Hong Kong tabloid posted an image of Mr. Lai handcuffed on the front page and vowed to keep fighting.
Protesters in the city also gathered in malls, holding copies of the tabloid, and were confronted by police enforcing the new security law.
Mr Lai is believed to be leading a fundraising group that the Global Times pressured foreign governments to sanction Hong Kong.
Upon his arrest, he said: “Of course the freedom of the press is hampered, it goes without saying.
But Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a state-owned company, suggested that complaints from the US government over Mr. Lai’s arrest were proof that he was its main agent in the territory.
He added: “He has become a 100% traitor. “
The Chinese Foreign Ministry followed the arrest with sanctions against US senators.
But most senators rejected this decision, Marco Rubio mocking the attack on Beijing.
He said, “Last month China banned me. Today they sanctioned me.
“I don’t want to be paranoid but I’m starting to think they don’t like me. “