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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora