News / Asia

    Hong Kong Officials Raid Home of Media Mogul Critical of Beijing

    FILE - Jimmy Lai, chairman and founder of Next Media, speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters in Taipei.
    FILE - Jimmy Lai, chairman and founder of Next Media, speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters in Taipei.
    VOA News

    Hong Kong anti-corruption officials have raided the home of media mogul Jimmy Lai, whose publications are often critical of mainland China.

    The early Thursday raid comes after local media this month published reports claiming Lai made major donations to pro-democracy lawmakers. Lai denies any wrongdoing. There are no laws in Hong Kong that require the disclosure of political donations.

    Speaking outside his home, Lai confirmed that his home was raided, but offered no other details.

    “ICAC [Anti-graft agency Independent Commission Against Corruption] was here, and they are all gone now, and there's no further comment,” he said.

    Officials also raided the home of pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the pro-democracy  Labor Party.

    Many in the semi-autonomous Chinese region are concerned at what they see as the erosion of press freedom, as well as the Communist Party’s insistence that it vet candidates for Hong Kong’s 2017 election.

    Ma Yue, an associate professor of political science at Chinese University of Hong Kong, says the investigation could send a chilling message.

    “I believe many people will think this is a political crackdown. The pro-Beijing [parties] received much more in donations than pro-democracy [groups]. But it does not seem to cause any controversy," Ma said. "The difference is, Jimmy Lai is the largest financing source of pro-democracy [supporters]."

    Tan Zhiqiang, a Hong Kong media commentator, says the raid is likely to backfire.

    “The investigation brings pro-democracy [supporters] a boost of motivation, which is the opposite effect they want. The move will certainly arouse concern in the international media industry since Jimmy Lai is such a media tycoon,” Tan said.

    Occupy Central protesters have held a series of major demonstrations and are threatening to take over the financial district if Beijing does not promise to allow a fully democratic election.

    Lai owns a wide range of publications that have often been supportive of the protests. Following the raid, shares in Lai’s Next Media Ltd. fell as much as six percent before trading was halted.

    Da Hai Han contributed to this report from Hong Kong, This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    August 29, 2014 2:10 PM
    Jimmy Lai's corporation Next Media hire an American Mark Simon who has close connections with the US Republican Party. His house was raided too. China sees Lai using foreign connections to seek protection. Does this type of protection work? At least Lai's raid appears in all major English-speaking countries newspapers, even an op ed page of Wall Street Journal the next day. You can't say it does not work.

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    August 28, 2014 1:49 PM
    China is trying to develop soft power. One empty chair at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony would cost how much? One event like raiding a media person crticising the government will cost more. Why does government care so little about the negative publicity hurting China's international image. Hong Kong is in the eyes of the world community.
    In Response

    by: William li from: Canada
    August 29, 2014 8:55 AM
    China did everything to keep this big country stable and united which is the very reason China can grow so fast. Good job China! We don't want to live in a country like Iraq or Ukraine! Go China go!

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    August 28, 2014 12:33 PM
    Soon every newspaper reads like Global Times and Ta Kung Pao. What happens to one country two systems? Hong Kong is another Chengdu.

    by: william li from: canada
    August 28, 2014 12:32 PM
    good job, HK!

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    August 28, 2014 12:29 PM
    The Hong Kong government thinks that this kind of fear-inducement tactics would frighten Lai and any other individuals or parties criticizing the government and Beijing. Soon when no local media dare to do it, it leaves the foreign media the only organized source of information which is not propaganda. Don't forge those internet blogs and others in the virtual world.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora