Police in Hong Kong arrested pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai on Monday under a new national security law passed by China, The New York Times reports.
More than 200 officers raided the newsroom of the Apple Daily, a prominent news outlet owned by Lai, and led his handcuffed out of the office.
Lai and the outlet have long been critics of the Chinese regime.
Police also arrested his two sons, who are not involved in the news outlet, and four executives from his company.
“The police really came in a big way,” said Keith Richburg, director of the University of Hong Kong’s journalism school, told The Times. “It just gives the lie to any assurances that the national security law would just target a few people involved in rioting. It’s put a chilling effect over everything here.”
China cracks down:
Lai is the most prominent person in the Chinese-ruled city to be ensnared by the national security law.
A dozen pro-democracy candidates were also barred from an upcoming legislative election under the law.
The US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand issued a statement saying they were “gravely concerned” the law was used to disqualify candidates.
The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Hong Kong executive Carrie Lam and 10 other senior officials for their role in squashing dissent since the law took effect.
China responded on Monday by sanctioning 11 US officials, including a half-dozen senators including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
No members of the Trump administration were included on the sanction list.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong said in a statement on Monday that the latest raid was “a direct assault on Hong Kong’s press freedom and signal a dark new phase in the erosion of the city’s global reputation.”
“Today’s events raise worries that such actions are being used to erase basic freedoms in Hong Kong,” the statement added.