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Jimmy Lai urges 'careful and creative' resistance

2020-08-13 HKT 05:49
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  • Jimmy Lai is led away from his home by police on Monday. Photo: Reuters
    Jimmy Lai is led away from his home by police on Monday. Photo: Reuters
Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai has warned against radicalism and urged Hongkongers to steel themselves for a long fight to ensure the SAR's freedoms.

Lai made the remarks to the BBC on Wednesday, the day after he was released from police custody following his arrest on Monday under the SAR's new National Security Law.

"I think we have to be more cautious in our resistance to preserve our rule of law and freedom and also at the same time, you know, we have to be more careful and more creative in the way that we persist in our resistance, because this is a long fight. Radicalism is not for a long fight," he said.

Lai said he knew he was likely to be arrested after the law took effect at the start of July, but not so early.

"I was expecting this, but not soon," he said. He believed international pressure, including the US sanctions on officials, would lead the authorities to take a more cautious approach.

The businessman said the police officers who arrested him on Monday did not speak Putonghua, which he took as an indication that Hong Kong police, rather than officials sent from the mainland, were in charge of national security matters.

He said this made him less worried about the prospect of being sent to the mainland, a possibility the new law allows for.

Lai said he was shown interviews given before the implementation of the new law as well as live streams he'd participated in on Twitter, but he "remained silent, I did not give any answers".

He said he believed Hong Kong people were "very angry" at his arrest, noting strong sales of Apple Daily and a dramatic increase in the share price of his company, Next Media, which rose more than 1,000 percent before falling back on Wednesday.

Lai said he thought after his arrest about whether he would have acted differently in hindsight, but concluded: "This is my character, character is destiny. And once I accept my destiny, it's just like accepting God's blessing.

"I was all of a sudden very relieved, and said that whatever comes it will be a blessing from God."