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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid