National security law: Jimmy Lai takes Hong Kong police to court seeking return of materials seized in office raid
- Lawyers for the media mogul have asked for an injunction preventing the review of any documents that fall outside scope of warrant
- The raid by the newly formed national security unit led to boxes of materials being removed from Lai’s office over the course of an hour last Thursday
His company, Dico Consultants, on Monday took the commissioner of police to the High Court over the boxes of documents that plain-clothes officers from the recently formed unit took from his Millennium City office in Kwun Tong on October 15.
Hong Kong police’s national security unit raids private office of media mogul Jimmy Lai over fraud case
The Next Digital founder had already applied for similar court orders in respect to the high-profile raid on his Apple Daily newspaper headquarters that took place following his arrest on August 10.
A law enforcement source told the Post that last week’s raid was linked to the ongoing fraud investigation that sparked the initial operation.
The Post subsequently learned the fraud allegations were tied to an investigation launched after pro-Beijing groups accused Lai of using the offices of Next Digital to provide secretarial services, which could amount to a breach of land lease terms and providing false information to the Lands Department to evade rent.
The company is now seeking a determination from the court if the seized materials may be examined under a police search warrant, or if they fall under the protection of legal professional privilege.
Such privilege generally covers communications between lawyers and their clients whereby legal advice is sought or given, as well as all documents brought in for the purpose of litigation.
The company’s lawyers are also seeking an injunction to restrain police from accessing, reviewing or making use of materials that fell outside the scope of the warrant or were protected, and for such items to be returned to the plaintiff.
A company search showed that Wan Chai-based Dico Consultants, a private business limited by shares, was incorporated in February 1988.
Its directors are Lai and his right-hand man Mark Simon, who was also registered as the company secretary.
The case has yet to be scheduled for hearing.