On the Security Bureau by the “Hong Kong National Security Law” to freeze the founder of Next Media Group Lai Chi-ying is being prosecuted for alleged violations of the law, the British “Hong Kong Watch” director general Rogers and overseas Hong Kong commentator Wong Sai-chak said that this move to destroy Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center, investors will be worried about becoming the next asset freeze people, and questioned who would dare to come to Hong Kong to invest in the future. Questioned who would dare to invest in Hong Kong in the future. Both urged the international community to sanction the officials in charge and freeze their assets.
As early as February, the UK revised its guidelines for doing business in Hong Kong, in response to the implementation of the National Security Law and the actions of the Hong Kong government, removing for the first time the description of Hong Kong as an “international financial center” and no longer directly describing Hong Kong as enjoying a high degree of autonomy. As for the Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Secretary for Security Lee Ka-chiu, they were also put on the sanctions list by the US Treasury Department, but not by the UK.
Benedict Rogers, vice chairman of the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Committee, issued a statement on the Hong Kong Watch website yesterday (14), saying that Beijing had easily frozen Lai’s assets without following the legal procedures stipulated in the National Security Law, which undermined the rule of law and destroyed Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center. Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center has been destroyed. He continued, “From now on, no one will question that they will be the next to have their assets frozen in Hong Kong in the name of the national security law.
He argued that the international community should impose sanctions under the Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to freeze the assets of the officials responsible for pushing back Hong Kong’s autonomy, one of which is Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security Li Ka-chiu, who issued the freeze order.
Hong Kong commentator Wong Sai-chak made similar comments on social media. Although the Apple Daily claimed that freezing Lai’s private assets would not affect the newspaper’s operation because the two accounts are independent, Wong argued that freezing Lai’s assets is a disguised attempt to ban the Apple. According to public information, Lai had used his private property to subsidize the loss-making Apple in the past.
Wong described the government’s move as a “fatal blow to Hong Kong”, freezing private property, which is most valued in the capitalist market, without trial or judgment, asking who would dare to invest in Hong Kong, because the authorities “say cut the leeks on the leeks”. The “leek” in recent years in China originally refers to the endless small shareholders, repeatedly by the large investors in the stock price high trap and harvest their money, later extended to the leaders to seize the property of private enterprises.
He continued, the incident also shows that Hong Kong has turned to the worst direction, reflecting the Chinese President Xi Jinping only as a city in mainland China to manage Hong Kong, no longer delusions of capitalism in Hong Kong, can be different from the socialist “two systems” in mainland China.
The Hong Kong government announced last night that it has frozen the shares of Next Media held by Lai Chi-ying and the assets of three companies owned by him in local bank accounts, in accordance with the enforcement rules of the National Security Law. The announcement only said that the Secretary for Security “if there are reasonable grounds to suspect” that the relevant property “will be transferred out of Hong Kong”, then can make freezing instructions. However, the government’s announcement did not explain on what evidence the authorities made the above “reasonable grounds to suspect”, nor did it specify the names of the companies frozen.
Based on the share price, the Hong Kong government froze about 350 million Hong Kong dollars (equivalent to about 37.1 million euros) worth of Lai Chi-ying’s shares and the assets of three companies.