Mark Simon, a media executive at Next Digital and Apple Daily, told the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) that 14 police officers raided Lai’s private office in Kowloon Millennium City on Thursday morning after presenting a search warrant for the raid around 10:30 a.m. He said the raid was connected to the police’s investigation into Lai’s private companies.
Simon, who is in Taiwan, announced on Twitter that he had asked police over the phone to wait until the company’s lawyer arrived. “They did not, they took documents & departed before our lawyer arrived,” he said. “No contacts, no names of police provided.”
I spoke with police they said they would remain until our lawyer arrived. They did not, they took documents & departed before our lawyer arrived.
No contacts, no names of police provided..1/
— Mark Simon (@HKMarkSimon) October 15, 2020
Lai, 71, was arrested on Aug. 10 “on suspicion of collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger [China’s] national security, conspiracy to defraud, and other offenses,” in violation of the city’s new so-called national security law imposed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing, according to a statement released by the Hong Kong Police force.
Following his arrest, about 200 police officers raided Apple Daily’s newsroom on the same day.
Next Digital is an investment holding company founded by Lai that is mainly focused in media and publishing businesses. It publishes Apple Daily, a tabloid known for its critical coverage of the CCP and the current pro-Beijing Hong Kong government during the past year of mass protests.
Simon told HKFP on Thursday that it was “publicly known” that Lai had been using funds from his private businesses to keep Apple Daily afloat, even though business operations of the company are not at the Kowloon office.
He said on Twitter on Thursday that the purpose of the raid was that the Carrie Lam government was “trying to make civil disputes into criminal cases” and “more ominously [to] shut off funds Mr. Lai uses to support Apple Daily.”
“By the way, this office is 600 sq ft. 14 cops on raid. So 1 cop per 42 sq ft. Increase of popo per square ft density over Apple raid,” he noted. Simon is also wanted by Hong Kong police.
The Epoch Times has contacted Hong Kong police for comment on the situation.
Yinyin Liao contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times