Mr Lai said he did not regret his arrest – but warned young protesters to be careful
Hong Kong mogul Jimmy Lai – the most prominent person to be detained under a controversial new security law – warned young protesters they had to be “more careful” now.
Mr. Lai was arrested on Monday and his newspaper offices were attacked by hundreds of police officers, in scenes that shocked many.
Speaking after his release on bail, Mr. Lai told that he believed his arrest was “just the start”.
There will be “a long struggle” for Hong Kong freedoms, he added.
Mr. Lai, who has been a leading pro-democracy voice and supporter of the protests that erupted last year, is the owner of Apple Daily, one of Hong Kong’s most widely read newspapers.
He and nine other activists were arrested Monday on allegations of collusion with foreign forces under a national security law imposed by China in June.
The wave of arrests has raised fears that China is using the new law to undertake a broad crackdown on pro-democracy activists and Hong Kong media figures.
Speaking to Newshour on the BBC World Service, Mr Lai said he was surprised to see police arrive at his home on Monday morning.
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Media captionHong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai released on bail
Although he had been arrested before, it was “more frightening” because it fell under the national security law imposed by China, he said.
His two sons were also arrested on “false charges,” he said, adding that he had no regrets about his pro-democracy activism.
“When I was in custody I couldn’t sleep… I thought, if I knew this was going to happen to me now [with] even more difficulty [on the way], would I have done the same?
I wouldn’t have done things any other way – that’s my character, he added.
However, he warned the protesters that they should now be “more careful in our resistance to preserve our rule of law and our freedom” as the sweeping new security law made the environment more dangerous for activists.
“We have to be more careful and creative in [our] resistance… we cannot be as radical as before – especially the young – because the more radical [we are] the shorter lifespan we have in our fights.
“We really have to use our brains and our patience because it’s a long struggle. “
The arrest of Mr. Lai was hailed by Chinese state media, which described him as a “supporter of the riots” and his publications as “inciting hatred, spreading rumors and defaming the Hong Kong authorities. and the continent for years ”.
Who else has been arrested?
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Colleagues of Mr. Lai and two of his sons were among those arrested on Monday.
Meanwhile, prominent young activist Agnes Chow was arrested, along with Wilson Li, who works as a freelance reporter for UK-based ITV News, and activist Andy Li.
Ms Chow was released on bail Tuesday evening and told reporters: “It is very evident that the regime is using the National Security Act to crack down on political dissidents. “