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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid