• Thu
  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Updated: 1:25pm
Jimmy Lai
NewsHong Kong

ICAC raids media tycoon Jimmy Lai's home over donations to pan-democrats

Home of lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan also searched over an alleged link between media tycoon's gifts and Legco speech on press freedoms

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 August, 2014, 10:04am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 7:20am
 

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Anti-graft officers yesterday raided the home of Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, the Next Media chief, Beijing critic and key donor to the pan-democratic camp.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption also searched the homes of Lai's assistant Mark Simon, who helped Lai supply money to lawmakers, and Labour Party legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, who admitted receiving HK$1.5 million from him.

Watch: Anti-corruption officers swooped on the Kowloon home of media mogul Jimmy Lai

Lai met the management of Next Media after the raid and said he had been prepared for it, according to a post on the Apple Daily website last night. "There's a price to pay for taking a stand," Lai said.

Lee said officers took bank documents from his office in the Legislative Council complex.

Simon said five ICAC officers searched his home.

"The timing is not coincidental, in our opinion," he said. "If you wanted to cool things down, this is the last thing you would do."

If you wanted to cool things down, this is the last thing you would do
MARK SIMON, A TOP AIDE TO LAI

On Wednesday, a draft framework for political reform in Hong Kong released in Beijing set tight restrictions on the 2017 chief executive election, dashing the hopes of pan-democrats.

An ICAC spokesman said it began its investigation after receiving corruption complaints accusing certain lawmakers of accepting advantages in breach of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. He said the agency acted impartially and without any political consideration.

The spotlight fell on Lai in July when leaked records revealed he had made donations of millions of dollars to pan-democrats.

Five pan-democratic lawmakers - including Lee - were caught in a political storm for allegedly failing to declare the donations to the legislature.

Lee said the watchdog made it clear it needed to investigate the relationship between Lai's donations to the party and a debate in Legco about editorial independence on January 21.

A copy of one of the search warrants seen by Reuters news agency also showed that the ICAC was looking for connections between payments or donations and the Legco debate.

In a Legco speech, Lee mentioned reports that Standard Chartered Bank had pulled ads from local newspapers under pressure from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Lee did not mention Lai's Apple Daily by name in the speech, according to minutes of the meeting.

The pro-democracy website House News - which closed last month citing political pressure and low ad revenue - reported in January that Leung and his allies had been pressing banks, including Standard Chartered, to pull ads from Apple Daily.

Former ICAC chief investigator Stephen Char Shik-ngor, now a barrister, doubted if a "valid or logical" case could be made over any link to Lee's speech.

"Press freedom is the core value of society - even Beijing-loyalists should defend it," he said.

 

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104

This article is now closed to comments

whoaman
ICAC is not independent anymore - this is the beginning of the end of rule of law in Hong Kong.
ann.wei.121
It has not been ICAC for quite a while, It is ICAD, Independent Commission Against Dissidents.
It is a tool for intimidating, bullying, suppressing, doing dirty jobs for His Majesty. Nothing new if you read the Chinese history, it is just in a different outfit. First Commissioner Jack Cater must be sobbing in his grave.
Mikado
Jimmy Lai getting caught with his pants down for corruption. The HK government better issue a travel ban on the fat bugger before he scam off to the US or Taiwan. Is his friend the war criminal Paul Wolfowitz bringing the CIA team to rescue the fat criminal? The HK police Flying Tigers better get ready to engage these US criminals.
kctony
What are you smoking on?
Where did the report say Jimmy Lai is corrupt?
Where did it say he's a criminal?
What US criminals?
Whatever CIA criminals come in to HK can squash you into a pus and walk scott free. The HK Police will not do a thing.
What grade are you in?
Ant Lee
the next is Oriental Daily......then SCMP
syn
Most likely building a paper trail to prosecute politicians that didn't declare donations. Lai didn't break the law. I would also assume ICAC had a warrant. Politically motivated or not, they wouldn't let a little bit of red tape like that mess up the investigation. I just hope that's what it is.
raglan
Hahaha...look at these comments, so much cognitive dissonance from one-dollar-pan-democrazies; so now that the ICAC must be a political tool if its investigating Uncle Jimmy and black politics, yeah whatever.....
I empathise however, I understand the tragedy of potentially losing free cookies from Uncle Jimmy.
kctony
Can you enlighten us on how DAB is the richest party in HK?
Dai Muff
Once again, if you think Mr Lai would be investigated if he had given the exact same money to the DAB, you are just plain nuts. And, where's that list of THEIR donors?
pjp
Wow they moved fast didn't they? Whether true or not I am not concerned, what is interesting though is that Sir Donald's investigation seems to have done nothing after 3 years, the Conduit Road nonsense came to zero etc......

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