Jimmy Lai: the Hong Kong media tycoon that China loathes

first_imgTopics : “If it comes, I will have the opportunity to read books I haven’t read. The only thing I can do is to be positive.”Few Hong Kongers generate the level of vitriol from Beijing that Lai does.For many residents of the semi-autonomous city, he is an unlikely hero — a pugnacious, self-made tabloid owner and the only tycoon willing to criticize Beijing.But in China’s state media he is a “traitor”, the biggest “black hand” behind last year’s huge pro-democracy protests and the head of a new “Gang of Four” conspiring with foreign nations to undermine the motherland. Prosecutions and payback Lai is no stranger to arrest.Along with dozens of prominent pro-democracy activists, he is facing separate prosecutions both for taking part in last year’s protests and for defying police to attend a banned Tiananmen vigil on June 4.Before the new security law was passed, Chinese state media often accused him of colluding with foreigners, especially after he had a meeting last year with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice-President Mike Pence.During AFP’s interview Lai described the proposed security law as “a death knell for Hong Kong”.”It will supersede or destroy our rule of law and destroy our international financial status,” he said.He also feared for his journalists.”Whatever we write, whatever we say can be subversion, can be sedition,” he predicted.His two primary titles — the Apple Daily newspaper and the digital-only Next magazine — openly back democracy protests in a city where competitors either support Beijing or tread a far more cautious line.The two publications have been largely devoid of advertisements for years as brands steer clear of incurring Beijing’s wrath, Lai plugging the losses with his own cash.But they are popular, offering a heady mix of celebrity news, sex scandals and genuine investigations such as a recent series looking at how the houses of some senior police officers violated building codes.Lai said he was determined to stay in Hong Kong even once the security law came in.”The only thing we can do is persist, not to lose spirit or hope,” he said. “And to think that what is right will eventually prevail.”Asked why he risked both his wealth and freedom by criticizing Beijing and publicly supporting Hong Kong’s democracy movement, he replied: “I’m a troublemaker.”I came here with nothing, the freedom of this place has given me everything. Maybe it’s time I paid back for that freedom by fighting for it.” ‘It feels right’Like many of Hong Kong’s tycoons, Lai rose from poverty.He was born in mainland China’s Guangdong province into a wealthy family but they lost it all when the communists took power in 1949. Smuggled into Hong Kong aged 12, Lai toiled in sweatshops, taught himself English and eventually founded the hugely successful Giordano clothing empire.But his path diverged from those of his contemporaries in 1989, when China sent tanks to crush pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.He founded his first publication shortly after and penned columns regularly criticizing senior Chinese leaders.Authorities began closing his mainland clothing stores, so Lai sold up and ploughed the money into a tabloid empire.Asked why he didn’t just keep quiet and enjoy his wealth like Hong Kong’s other tycoons, Lai replied: “Maybe I’m a born rebel, maybe I’m someone who needs a lot of meaning to live my life besides money.” A rags-to-riches millionaire, media tycoon Jimmy Lai is a self-styled “troublemaker” who has been a thorn in Beijing’s side for decades thanks to his caustic tabloids and unapologetic support for democracy.Lai’s arrest on Monday under a new national security law Beijing imposed on Hong Kong will come as little surprise to observers, including the publisher himself, who said he knew he would be a prime target.”I’m prepared for prison,” the 71-year-old told AFP from the offices of Next Digital, Hong Kong’s largest and most rambunctiously pro-democracy media group, in an interview two weeks before the security law was enacted on 30 June. last_img read more

Paddington worker’s cottage undergoes stunning transformation after multi-million dollar makeover

first_imgThe home at 87 Tooth Ave, Paddington, after it underwent a major renovation.Despite this, he saw the potential to create something special and snapped up the home on 503sq m in October, 2015 for $695,000. More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home5 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor5 hours agoThe house was lifted and shifted to create a new main entrance and make room for a double carport.The excavation process involved taking out more than 50 truckloads of soil from the backyard to get the level right. The home at 87 Tooth Ave, Paddington, before it underwent a major renovation. The home at 87 Tooth Ave, Paddington, before it underwent a major renovation. The home at 87 Tooth Ave, Paddington, after it underwent a major renovation.“We liked the square block, allowing 20 metres of frontage rather than the traditional 10 metres, which gave us ability to play around with the design,” Mr Oosthuizen said.He and his wife then moved back in to the home in January and have spent the past three months camping on-site while they finished the internal renovations before putting on the market.“It really is the glamorous life of a renovator to camp on-site and live on a mattress, but that’s what it takes,” he said.“It is a very stressful process. You’ve got to be resilient.“I don’t know how people do it if they work full time.” The home at 87 Tooth Ave, Paddington, after it underwent a major renovation.The amazing renovation job cost over $1 million for the construction phase alone, but for architect and builder Arno Oosthuizen, it’s been a labour of love.When Mr Oosthuizen first viewed the dilapidated property at 87 Tooth Avenue, he knew he had a major project on his hands.“You could feel the house swaying as you were moving inside it, so it was fairly unstable to be honest,” he said. The home at 87 Tooth Ave, Paddington, before it underwent a major renovation. The home at 87 Tooth Ave, Paddington, before it underwent a major renovation.IT might look flawless now, but before its stunning transformation this pre-war Queenslander was barely standing. Check out the before and after photos of this property in exclusive Paddington, which has been transformed from an old, turn-of-the-century worker’s cottage to the ultimate modern family home. The home at 87 Tooth Ave, Paddington, before it underwent a major renovation. The home at 87 Tooth Ave, Paddington, after it underwent a major renovation.The home has been transformed into a five bedroom, three bathroom, two car space property, with pool, media room, wine cellar and expansive terrace.Alex Rutherford of Place Estate Agents said the property fitted a marketplace that had not been catered for in recent years.“The reality is this house has been architecturally designed so the living areas are taking and framing the views,” she said.“It is different and it’s very modern. It’s something that I haven’t seen for quite some time.”The property is scheduled for auction on-site on May 13 at 9am through Place Estate Agents New Farm. Tips for prospective renovators from Westpac: · Ask yourself why Are you renovating to create more space for your family, to update the appearance or functionality of your home, or to add value? The reason you are renovating will influence your choices throughout the renovation process. · Do your research If you are renovating to add value to your property, research the area thoroughly to avoid overcapitalising on your renovations and to understand what buyers in the area are looking for.· Set a budgetBegin sourcing quotes to get a realistic idea of how much the work will cost and what you can achieve within your budget.last_img read more

Treviso punish Munster mistakes

first_img Ludovico Nitoglia had two tries while Mat Berquist kept the points flowing from his boot as Munster missed out on the chance to become the first side ever to begin a league season with maximum points from their opening three games. Keith Earls and Stephen Archer both crossed Munster, but ill discipline cost them as Berquist amassed 19 points, scoring five penalties, while three different Munster players endured spells in the sin bin. Press Association Things began well for Munster as they bossed the opening stages with Earls opening the scoring with a seventh-minute try. But Ian Keatley, having already missed a penalty, was off target with the conversion, and two Berquist penalties soon saw the momentum swing the other way. Munster regained the lead with a penalty try when Treviso’s scrum collapsed after a gutsy call from captain Peter O’Mahony, Keatley finding his aim this time to make it 12-6. Another Berquist penalty cut the deficit before half-time but when Archer crossed early in the second half, Keatley’s conversion pushed Munster’s advantage into double figures and all looked well for the Irish. That feeling lasted only a couple of minutes before Nitoglia notched his first try, and Berquist’s penalty on the hour mark had the teams tied once more. Nitoglia then dove over from close range for his second score and Berquist sealed it with Munster again down in numbers as Cathal Sheridan took his turn in the sin bin. ends center_img Munster were knocked off the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table as they were upset 29-19 by Benetton Treviso in Italy.last_img read more

GT Beer / Keep Your Five Alive starts Thursday

first_imgFOLLOWING a brief lull in the indoor format, the National Gymnasium is expected to once again burst alive when the 7th Annual GT Beer / Keep Your Five Alive’ Futsal Tournament starts on Thursday with opening action, commencing from 19:00hrs.Promoter Kevin Adonis, speaking recently, disclosed that this year’s competition has been tailored to provide riveting action throughout the seven days, while, unlike previous years where the top two teams were the only ones compensated, this year will see the top four teams winning cash in excess of $1million.Adonis said he has acquiesced to a request made by the teams and will now reward the top four teams with cash prizes and other incentives.Another change that Adonis has made is that the total teams invited to the tournament has dropped from thirty-two to twenty-four and they will be divided into six groups of four with the top two from each advancing automatically to the knockout phase along with the best four third-placed finishers, following the completion of the round robin stage.The teams invited are: Gold is Money, Sparta Boss, Leopold Street, Tiger Bay, Albouystown, BV, Melanie, Vryheid’s Lust, Avacado Ballers, Future Stars, Back Circle, North East La Penitence, Showstoppers, Broad Street, Alexander Village, GWI, Upsetters, LA Ballers, Bagotstown, Sophia, Spot 7, Charlotte Street, OL Skool Ballers and Bent Street.Adonis added that very shortly, team representatives will be provided with all the relevant information regarding the group placements and fixtures along with the breakdown of the individual prizes for the respective winners.Among the corporate entities that have signalled their intention to support the tournament are GT Beer, Hits and Jams 94.1 Boom FM, Star Party Rentals, Royal Castle, Prime Security, Fireside Grill and Chill, Keep It Clean Car Wash, Flashback 2020 and BK. International.FLASH BACK: Sparta Boss captain, Sheldon Shepherd, in the presence of Outdoor Events manager, Mortimer Stewart (left) and teammates, collects his team’s first-place prize following their win over Tiger Bay in the final.last_img read more