HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai said police raided his private offices earlier on Thursday, months after he was arrested on suspicion of violating the city’s national security law.
Lai said police did not wait for his lawyers to arrive at his office and took away documents. Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“They just wanted to get something to go against me,” Lai said outside a court, where he went for a hearing over unlawful assembly charges related to this year’s June 4 commemoration of China’s bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
“That’s not rule of law,” Lai said. “They just took everything.”
Lai’s aide Mark Simon said on Twitter police did not leave any names or contacts for the 14 officers who searched the office.
Lai was arrested in August on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces as around 200 police searched the offices of his Apple Daily anti-government tabloid, published by Next Digital Ltd. Police later also searched his yacht.
He has not been charged.
Lai had been a frequent visitor to Washington, where he has met officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to rally support for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a “traitor”.
The security law was introduced on June 30 and punishes anything China considers subversion, secession, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.
Critics say it crushes freedoms, while supporters say it will bring stability after prolonged anti-China, pro-democracy protests last year.
(Reporting by Tyrone Siu and Joyce Zhou; Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Christopher Cushing)