• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 8:38am
Jimmy Lai
NewsHong Kong

Apple Daily head Jimmy Lai donated millions to pan-democrats, leaked files show

Leaking of hundreds of records is labelled as a smear campaign by those he backed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 1:09pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2014, 11:21am

Hundreds of records detailing millions of dollars in donations to pan-democrats by the Apple Daily's founder have been leaked to the media, a move the camp slammed as a "smear campaign".

According to the 900 leaked files, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying has donated more than HK$10 million to pan-democratic parties and politicians since last year. The donations included HK$5 million to the Democratic Party and HK$3 million to the Civic Party.

Other donations detailed in the files include amounts totalling HK$900,000 to the Hong Kong Civic Education Foundation and Hong Kong Democratic Development Network, both co-founded by Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, an organiser of the Occupy Central civil-disobedience movement.

Some media reports suggested the total donations since April 2012 could have been as much as HK$40 million.

READ: Poison and big business: Jimmy Lai's private life thrust into the spotlight in leaked files

Reports in pro-government media claimed that Lai - who is know for his critical stance against Beijing - had manipulated pan-democrats and was "colluding with foreign countries to provoke unrest in Hong Kong".

Watch: Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai talks about his business strategy in leaked video

The Next Media Group chairman said he was worried that friends with mainland business interests would be deterred from donating to the Democrats.

"It's always been clear … that I support the pan-democrats. Saying I have stirred up trouble in Hong Kong? I don't think so … I am only supporting [the groups] which would help the city," Lai said on Apple's online talk-show Hammer Out yesterday.


Lai accepted that many of the reports of donations were true, but dismissed accusations he had been supported by "foreign powers".

"Every cent is given by me but not any foreign countries," Lai said.

Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang called the leaks a "smear campaign", while Democratic Party founder Martin Lee Chu-ming described it as "white terror".

READ: Jimmy Lai paid Paul Wolfowitz US$75,000 for help in Myanmar

The files are believed to have been obtained from the computer of Lai's top aide, Mark Simon.

Some show that Labour Party stalwart Lee Cheuk-yan and League of Social Democrats chairman "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung each received HK$500,000 from Lai last year.

Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit and Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, the Alliance for True Democracy convenor, jointly received HK$300,000.

Lawmakers must declare within 14 days any donations they receive for election and financial sponsorship. But no lawmaker who benefited from Lai's donations had made such a declaration.

Leong said the money had been paid into a joint account held by him and Cheng temporarily because the alliance's account was not ready. Leung said he received the sum on behalf of the league.

A government source said the reports about Lai's donations to pan-democratic groups had intensified Beijing's concern about external forces' interference in the city's affairs, which might reduce the chance for the two sides to meet over political reform.

In April, the Beijing-friendly Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong raised a record HK$63.8 million at a fund-raising event. Businessmen donated about HK$25 million of the total for a calligraphy and singing performance by the central government's liaison office director, Zhang Xiaoming .

Additional reporting by Ada Lee and Samuel Chan


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Jimmy Lai has every right to give HIS own money to anyone he pleases. The public have a right to know how much of CCP and HK taxpayers' money goes to the DAB and other cronies including businesses in the crony capitalist magic circle, against which Jimmy Lai's donations look like a drop in the bucket.
Nothing surprising here because this is what "democracy" is really all about ; Politicians bought by the rich, who have vested interests to protect.
And "voters" ? . You are just the cannon fodder to be swayed by politicians' lies and deceptions.
hahahaha, im getting a good laugh off of all these pro-lai comments, simply hilarious.
these comments goes to show the so-called democracy camp is so brainwashed that they see nothing wrong with 1 man contributing undisclosed amounts of money to a political party, and dont even ask if the money is his own or not, much less question the kind of influence this 1 man has over hk politics. but you would say anything for your "democracy" wouldnt you?
this lai makes that old millionare in "house of cards" tv series look small-time, yet no one in the "democracy" camp dare say anything "righteous" now cuz they are BOUGHT.
you know why the 2003 7.1 march was one of the biggest? cuz article 23 would stop foreign money from contributing to political parties, and pan-dems were afraid once enacted they would become the poor losers again that they once were.
I say this: If pan-dems say they were not influenced by foreign money, how about adding article 23 to the basic law? why are you so afraid of aritcle 23 if you are not HAND-FED BY FOREIGNERS?
How much did your masters in Beijing pay to stack the deck? How much do they steal daily? You are just a mouthpiece suggesting that we become slaves to your masters. Pathetic waste of oxygen. Voters need to become slaves since communists are the only ones genetically capable of ruling. Pathetic.
Australia, UK, Japan etc and many other countries have legislation forcing political parties to declare donations above a menial sum
Why not here ? North Korea could be funding the DAB ?
Well it's simple, the $$ paying puppet masters do not want it known their functional constituency & Pro Govt lackies are doing their work & DNGAF about the people of HKG
That's modern democracy. Many studies have shown that in every major US election the person with the most money wins. Cash buys media, other visibility and influence. Winning elections is big business in advanced democracies, so it's not surprising that US neo-conservatives like Wolfowitz are involved. They can cause China grief and drum up business at the same time -- really a dream job for a retired Bushite. The only question is why loyal Hong Kong supporters want to team up with the people that brought the US into Iraq and the financial crisis while destabilizing China, which since 1990 (the process began in 1984) has financed Hong Kong transformation from being a small manufacturing and middling trade centre, complete with cold war spy station, to being one of the most celebrated cities and financial hubs in the world. Freedom is all about choice, and the next generation will have to live with those made now.
Dai Muff
Yes, When are we going to see the expose of where the pro-Beijing bunch get the money to pay their ragtag mob of ignorant "protesters", the newspaper vendors, the old ladies who come out to support C Y who do not know why they are there, the triads who meet up in toilets for their payouts?
Ant Lee
whats is the big deal about donation to Democratic party? the real issue is all the pro-communist organisations donating to DAB.
Where's the campaign to get Hong Kong'ers who are members of the CCP to admit it? CY, over to you....
These pan-dems are just as crooked and greedy as the people they obstruct against.
And when Anson Chan complains about a smear campaign, she doesn't understand politics in a free society. This is just politics as usual like anywhere else in the West.



SCMP.com Account