For Taiwan, Jimmy Lai’s assets freeze means it is risky to invest in Hong Kong
China’s national security law threatens the property of residents and investors in the former British colony. Assets worth US$ 64 million that belong to the media mogul were frozen yesterday. About 40 per cent of US companies are considering or planning to leave Hong Kong. For mainland China, the security law has restored stability.
Taipei (AsiaNews) – The freeze of assets owned by pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai is a signal that doing business and investing in Hong Kong is increasingly risky, this according to Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council.
In a statement, the Council notes that the national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong threatens the assets and property rights of residents and investors in the former British colony.
Yesterday, Hong Kong’s national security police froze assets that belong to Lai worth HK$ 500 million (US$ 64 million), including his 70 per cent share of the Next Digital media company, which owns the anti-establishment newspaper Apple Daily.
This is the first time that local authorities have used the security law to target a publicly-traded firm.
Lai has been in prison for months charged with national security offences, including participation in two unauthorised protests in August 2019. Prosecutors also accuse him of illegally subletting some public space destined for Next Digital.
Taiwanese authorities are not alone in expressing concern about the effects of the draconian law adopted to repress Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
A survey by the US Chamber of Commerce, whose results were released a few days ago, found that 40 per cent of respondents are considering or planning to leave Hong Kong.
Of the latter, around 62.3 per cent cited unease with the national security law as a motive. More than 1,200 US companies operate in Hong Kong.
China's foreign ministry countered by pointing out 58 per cent of respondents to the survey still plan to stay in Hong Kong and that the security law has restored stability, helping to create an investment-friendly environment.