Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, who was arrested on Monday under the country’s new national security law, called on young protesters to be “more careful” in the fight ahead.
Lai, who owns Apply Daily, one of Hong Kong’s most widely read newspapers, is one of the most prominent figures arrested under a wider attack by political dissidents.
Nine other people – including two of Lai’s sons – were arrested Monday on foreign collision charges, under a national security law China enforced in June, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Lai was released on bail Wednesday morning. Speaking to the BBC after his release, he said his arrest was “just the beginning”.
“When I was in custody I could not sleep,” Lai said. “I was thinking, if I knew what was going to happen to me now, [with] even more difficulty [on the way], would I have done the same?
Lai said there was no regret in his actions but warned the young protesters to be “more careful in our resistance to uphold the rule of law and our freedom”.
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“We have to be more careful and creative in [our] resistance … we can not be as radical as before – especially young people – because more radical [we are] the shortest lifespan we have in our fights, “Lai said.” We have to really use our brains and patience, because this is a long fight. “
Lait’s arrest has galvanized pro-democracy activists. On Tuesday, results lined up in news outlets across the city to buy the same letter, handing out $ 10 Hong Kong ($ 1.25) a copy in an effort to help Apple Daily – and press freedom – survive.
The mass arrests have sparked fears that the new national security law will be used to quell opposition in Hong Kong after months of anti-government protests rocked Beijing’s city leadership and central government last year.
Police have expanded their use of the law since it came into force six weeks ago, first arresting protesters with slogans believed to be in violation and then activists for online posting.
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Apple Daily, known for its celebrity coverage as well as its condemnation of China’s authoritarian rule, remained deficient, printing 350,000 copies – five times its usual work – after police investigators left Next Digital and told employees so that they could return to work.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.