Hong Kong media giant soars 344pc as Lai arrest spurs activists

HONG KONG (AFP) – Shares in a Hong Kong media group soared more than 300 per cent yesterday as democracy activists hit social media urging investors to support the media company after its owner was arrested under the city’s new security law.

Jimmy Lai and leading executives were arrested in the morning for alleged fraud and colluding with foreign forces – a newly created national security crime.

Some 200 police officers then raided Next Digital’s offices, bringing a handcuffed Lai along with them, in images that were broadcast live by his own employees.

Lai owns the Apple Daily newspaper and Next Magazine. Along with Lai, his two sons, and four senior management of the media group were also arrested.

The company’s share price initially tumbled almost 17 per cent but soon rocketed 344 per cent to HKD0.40, its highest since June last year. It ended 183 per cent higher at HKD0.255.

The spike came after calls went out on Facebook and other social media platforms for people to buy shares.

Calls have also gone out online to buy today’s Apple Daily newspaper – if it can still be printed.

“I will buy tomorrow’s Apple Daily even if it is a pile of blank papers,” wrote lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun with a photo of him holding a copy of the newspaper.