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Hong Kong Officials Raid Home of Media Mogul Critical of Beijing


FILE - Jimmy Lai, chairman and founder of Next Media, speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters in Taipei.

Hong Kong anti-corruption officials have raided the home of media mogul Jimmy Lai, whose publications are often critical of mainland China.

The early Thursday raid comes after local media this month published reports claiming Lai made major donations to pro-democracy lawmakers. Lai denies any wrongdoing. There are no laws in Hong Kong that require the disclosure of political donations.

Speaking outside his home, Lai confirmed that his home was raided, but offered no other details.

“ICAC was here, and they are all gone now, and there's no further comment,” said Lai, referring to the anti-graft agency Independent Commission Against Corruption by its initials.

Officials also raided the home of pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, whose Labor Party played a major part in the recent Occupy Central protests against Chinese influence in Hong Kong.

Many in the semi-autonomous Chinese region are concerned at what they see as the erosion of press freedom, as well as the Communist Party’s insistence that it vet candidates for Hong Kong’s 2017 election.

Occupy Central protesters have held a series of major demonstrations and are threatening to take over the financial district if Beijing does not promise to allow a fully democratic election.

Lai owns a wide range of publications that have often been supportive of the protests. Following the raid, shares in Lai’s Next Media Ltd fell as much as six percent before trading was halted.

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