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Jimmy Lai, associates released on bail in Hong Kong

After facing criticism from countries around the world, Hong Kong police on Tuesday released media mogul Jimmy Lai and his two sons on bail, media reported.
Jimmy Lai, associates released on bail in Hong Kong

After facing criticism from countries around the world, Hong Kong police on Tuesday released media mogul Jimmy Lai and his two sons on bail, media reported.

He was arrested along with nine others, including his two sons, in a raid on the newspaper's office and homes on Monday. He was arrested under draconian Hong Kong security law.

According to the South China Morning Post, all those arrested were released on bail one by one over the course of Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hong Kong police took media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who was arrested a day earlier under the draconian national security law, to his yacht as part of an ongoing investigation.

An unmarked police car carrying the 72-year-old drove into Hong Kong Marina in Sai Kung at around 11 am on Tuesday, reported South China Morning Post.

Jimmy Lai's arrest has invoked international criticism. US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Monday had said that he was "troubled" by reports of the arrest of Jimmy Lai, a media tycoon and critic of the Chinese Communist Party, under the draconian national security law in Hong Kong.

The European Union too in a statement expressed concern over the arrests saying it further stoke fears that the National Security Law is being used to stifle freedom of expression.

"The recent arrests of Jimmy Lai, members of his family and other individuals, and the raid on the offices of newspaper Apple Daily, under allegations of collusion with foreign forces, further stoke fears that the National Security Law is being used to stifle freedom of expression and of the media in Hong Kong," said the lead spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Peter Stano in a statement.

The statement said European Union recalls that the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is a central element of the Basic Law and the "one country, two systems" principle.

"In addition, media freedom and pluralism, are pillars of democracy as they are essential components of an open and free society. It is essential that the existing rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents are fully protected, including freedom of speech, of the press and of publication, as well as freedom of association and of assembly," the statement read.

The draconian law is aimed at crushing dissent in the erstwhile British colony which saw massive pro-democracy protests last year. The legislation, which came into effect on July 1, punishes what Beijing terms secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference with up to life in prison.

( With inputs from ANI )

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