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  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 6:58pm
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong

Media mogul Jimmy Lai ‘spent HK$3.5m on Occupy Central vote’, leaked emails show

Leaked emails show tycoon privately dismissed organisers as idealists, while his media group helped with animated guide on resisting police

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 August, 2014, 7:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 4:19pm

Media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying spent millions helping Occupy Central to hold its unofficial referendum in June, leaked emails show.

Lai's Next Media group also offered extensive advice - including propaganda material - to the Occupy Central organisers - whom Lai dismissed in private as "idealist scholars" who "couldn't make the cut without help".

The emails were leaked by the same person who sent documents detailing the Next Media chairman's political donations to various pan-democrats two weeks ago. It is not clear how the documents were obtained.

One of the exchanges between Lai and his top aide Mark Simon shows that Lai spent some HK$3 million to HK$3.5 million to help the plebiscite. The email did not detail how the money was spent, only mentioning that the costs included "advertisements and billboards".

Jimmy Lai could not be reached for comment. Mark Simon declined to comment.

In an email dated July 5, 2013, Lai turned down advice from Ip Yut-kin, an executive director of Next Media, that neither he nor the media group should be involved in the Occupy Central campaign, in case the issue became "more complicated" because of Lai's anti-China stance.

Lai replied: "Noted. But I don't agree."

In another exchange, Lai said the three campaign organisers were idealist scholars who had "no strategy, not to mention any organised plans or steps for actions". They "could accomplish nothing if there was no help".

Emails dated July 8, 2013, suggest the Next Media group had helped to produce an animation showing how to resist police in case force was used to disperse people in a mass protest.

In an email the following day, the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, a campaign co-organiser, said to Lai that it was too early to go into the "technical aspects" and talked about a campaign to "materialise the spirits of love and peace", which Lai said he found "totally confused".

The Occupy Central campaign is being planned by Chu, University of Hong Kong professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chinese University scholar Dr Chan Kin-man.

They plan to mobilise crowds to take over Hong Kong's financial district if Beijing sets guidelines on Hong Kong's chief executive election in 2017 that fall short of international standards for democracy.

Chan yesterday ridiculed the notion that Lai was the main force behind the campaign.

"Occupy Central has its own flow and schedule which are very transparent," he said.

The movement had received around HK$7 million in donations since last year, Chan said, but none of that was from Lai.

About HK$3 million was donated at fundraising events including the July 1 march; the remaining HK$4 million was from individual professionals.

Chan condemned the leak as a smear campaign.

Current affairs commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said the information would reinforce the belief of critics of the pan-democrats that Lai, with the support of the United States, was orchestrating anti-China and anti-establishment campaigns in Hong Kong.



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This article is now closed to comments

Hopefully now the SCMP can show some balance by devoting some front pages investigating who is funding the anti-OC campaign.
So, is it illegal in HK to donate money to fund a referendum which the government did not support? If no, then why is SCMP using words like "leaked" and "revealed" to imply there was some misdeed? The money has to come from some where just to buy T-shirts for the workers and ads to tell people where the stations are. So what? Tycoons can fund whatever activities they want, and in HK, even if they are not legal. They are over-represented Tycoons. What is supposed to be implied by "leaked"? I send SMS to my friends all the time that I don't intend for the world to see. So, if someone intercepts and sends it to SCMP, then my SMS is "leaked"? Does "show me your ****" mean anymore or less after it was "leaked"? Is Lai required to report his funding for the referendum? Where does it say that he should have?
I don't think who is supporting the OC campaign is too important for us let alone making us excited. We should not be led to believe that only one side can win in this wrestle. Rather we can all be the contributor for the win-for-all result.
hard times !
******might fall dead soon before righteous and courageous media mogul,Jimmy Lai since his donations were to aid the local pan-democarts only---not to spend on beauties,luxurious yachts, private airplanes nor superb accommodation or luxurious travels. Right ? The nasty guy down below nicknamed:'******' is definitely a good-for-nothing blind loyalist or hired thug ( so-called fifty-cent gang member). Shame on him/her and his/her so-called postings here which only pollute this Comment column of our prestigious paper:South China Morning Post
"Media Mogul Jimmy Lai found dead in apartment in apparent suicide".
"...after jumping off 1st floor repeatedly..."
what a friggin' sheister.
Have a look at this:
If my guess is right, Mark Simon is active on this board, counting the hits instead of reading the contents.
How About
If you can’t explain it, muddle it;
if you can’t deodorize it, make everyone else stink;
if you can’t look good, make everyone look bad.
If there still remains some vestige of kindness in your hearts,
I hope that you stop acting in yours or Uncle Sam's self-interest, and instead act to help your fellow Hong Kongers.
What about the "red" money given to the opposit camp?




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