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Jimmy Lai says quick arrest indicates “major discord” between Hong Kong police and China | Hong Kong

Jimmy Lai said he was surprised to be arrested so quickly and suggested there was a “major rift” between Chinese and Hong Kong authorities over how to deal with national national security law.

The 71-year-old media mogul and prominent pro-democracy activist was arrested Monday on suspicion of committing foreign covert crimes in violation of Beijing’s national security law and conspiracy to defraud.

Nine others were also arrested, including his two sons and four senior executives at his company, Next Digital Media, publisher of Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s largest daily tabloid. Separately, Agnes Chow, a young democracy activist, was also arrested on charges of foreign agreements.

In his weekly live stream from the Apple Daily, Lai said Thursday that he expected to be arrested under laws that went into effect on June 30, but was surprised it happened so quickly while the world’s attention was still on Hong Kong.

“I thought China with such a strong response from the international community … in enforcing the national security law, I thought they would keep a low profile to make sure the international community was comfortable with it, investors, businessmen … that the national security law has calmed everything down and we have done nothing, “he said.

“But perhaps the upper and lower classes do not agree. It just shows me that maybe the regime is in a big mess because they are not coordinating. “

When the law was implemented, the authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing were adamant, it would be used to target only a small minority and would not affect people’s lives and freedoms. They have also struggled to reassure the foreign business community that they do not need to leave the international funding center.

After its implementation, about 30 people were arrested for crimes, including carrying the flag of independence, and schools and libraries were told to remove “subversive” texts from the shelves. Democratic politicians were disqualified from the election, and media organizations cut off interviews with dissidents.

Hong Kong-based Chinese language newspaper Ming Pao reported on Thursday that public broadcaster RTHK has removed a recorded discussion that includes Nathan Law, a former lawmaker and activist who has since fled to the UK and is reportedly wanted by police under the National Security Act. .

Lai also said he was not afraid to be transferred to the mainland, which has jurisdiction over more serious crimes, as the entire arrest team is Hong Kong and does not speak a continental language, he said.

The new police force, set up under national security law, is shrouded in secrecy, but Lai said he did not think he had come across any of mainland China.

“They were all police in Hong Kong. “Maybe the forces are taking orders from China, I don’t know, but it looks like the whole team is a team in Hong Kong, so I don’t think they intend to take me or anyone to mainland China,” he said.

“Maybe if they decide I’ve done something really subversive … but at this point I’m sure I won’t be taken to China.”

Recent comments in the Chinese state media, however, have left open the possibility of a transfer. According to reports, while the case is being investigated by the police department, the national security service set up by Beijing in Hong Kong may take over, the case is considered “complicated”.

“As the case may involve complex factors related to foreign countries, if further evidence is difficult to investigate, the possibility of involvement or even takeover by the National Security Office of the Hong Kong Central Government cannot be ruled out,” the academician said. Beijing and national security law advocate Tian Feylong.

Bark lasts more than 40 hours. During this time, he was often seen in public, handcuffed by police, including through the Apple Daily newsroom.

Several reports described it as a perfect walk, but Lai said his other movements were “not intentional.” He said they had to relocate police stations as the power went out in the area and then again when the fingerprint machine was not working.

Lai said that international support for him and the movement “gives us confidence to know what we are doing right.”

“What we are doing to protect our city is the right thing to do because so many people have their backs.”

Additional reporting by Pei Lin Wu.

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