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Hong Kong police said seven people between the ages of 39 and 72 were arrested on suspicion of breaking the new security law, but the statement did not reveal the names of those arrested.
Lai, 71, owns the popular tabloid Apple Daily and is an outspoken pro-democracy figure in Hong Kong who regularly criticizes China’s authoritarian regime.
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The security law came into effect on June 30 and is widely seen as a way to curb dissent after anti-government protests rocked Hong Kong last year.
Simon said police searched Lai and her son’s home, and detained several other members of the Next Digital media group, founded by Lai.
More than 100 police officers also raided Next Digital’s headquarters in Hong Kong, entering the newsroom and searching the offices. Simon said in a tweet that police were executing a search warrant.
Next Digital operates the Apple Daily tabloid, founded by Lai in 1995, before the transfer from Hong Kong to China. Like Lai, Apple Daily has a strong pro-democracy stance and has often urged its readers to participate in pro-democracy protests.
Growing concern over wider impact of new Chinese security law
The Security Law prohibits secessionist, subversive and terrorist acts, as well as collusion with foreign forces in the internal affairs of the city. The maximum penalty for serious offenders is life imprisonment.
Chinese broadcaster CCTV last month said pro-democracy activist Nathan Law and five others were wanted under the law, although all six had fled overseas. Law had moved to Britain in July to continue international advocacy work for Hong Kong.
© 2020 The Canadian Press