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

Trackside stunner sells at auction in Hendra

first_imgThe back deck at 30 Rosewood St, Bardon.“It’s mixed feelings because we do love the house and we’ve made it our own but we’re also pleased to have a successful result today.”The couple said the price was where the felt the market was at. “While it is about the figures, the fact that it’s going to a local family who wanted it so badly is a really good feeling,” Mrs Brier said. In Taringa a beautifully renovated cottage also sold under the hammer on Saturday. The happy vendors Dan and Rebecca Smith with their children Ava, Savannah and Harry.“They were having a chat with buyers after the sale and they were all wondering around the house together,” she said. “(Mr and Mrs Smith) have already bought another property, so this will give them the ability to renovate their new home.” In Bardon it was third time lucky for Seamus O’Donoghue and Jessica Holding at the auction of 30 Rosewood St. The trackside pool and deck at 114 Mein St, Hendra.The auction began with a starting bid of $1.8 million and nine buyers actively vied for the five-bedroom home. “It was a drawn out auction and it got down to two people in the end battling it out,” Ms Kortlang said. The successful bidder was a local Hendra buyer with plans to move into the two-storey home. The renovated kitchen and dining room at 5 Magor St, Taringa.Mr Dixon said the new owners were a young professional couple who planned to move into the home. “They were very excited. They have been looking for something for some time,” he said. Mr Dixon said the high quality of the renovation carried out by the vendor ensured plenty of interest in the property. “We ran a four week marketing campaign and we had approximately 50 groups inspect the home,” he said. “It’s in a very nice pocket so I expected there would be good interest and there was.”The Toowong-based agent said the vendor was pleased with the result. “She is looking to move on to another renovation project in the area,” he said. The home at 5 Magor St, Taringa.Marketing agent Jack Dixon of Dixon Family Estate Agents said the three-bedroom home at 5 Magor St sold for $820,000. “We had five registered bidders but only two actively participated in the bidding,” he said. “The opening bid was $760,000 and bids increased in increments of $10,000 from there. “There was a bit of negotiating towards the end between the buyer and the highest bidder and the highest bid was increased to $820,000. “It was declared on the market at the point and sold.” The open-plan living area at 30 Rosewood St, Bardon.The couple plan to move into the three-bedroom home with their daughter and buy some chickens to fill the chook pen. “Our little girl is a climber so she’ll like the cubby house,” Ms Holding said. Vendors Eveline and Andrew Brier said the sale was a bittersweet moment for them. “We’re selling because of a change in family circumstances and it was somewhat of a reluctant sale,” Mrs Brier said. The home at 30 Rosewood St, BardonThe couple secured the property, their first home, with a bid of $900,000 after losing out at two previous auctions. Mr O’Donoghue was responsible for placing the opening bid of $700,000.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home3 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor3 hours agoThe bids rose steadily until hitting $860,000 where the auction stalled and auctioneer Grant Penrose of REMAX Profile began negotiations. After some to-ing and fro-ing, Mr O’Donoghue raised his bid to $900,000 and the property was declared on the market and sold. Ms Holding said they were nervous going into the auction and a little shocked to have won the property. “We really liked the suburb, the location, proximity to good schools, the quiet street and the fact that it’s a beautiful home as well,” she said. The kitchen at 114 Mein St, Hendra.Vendors Dan and Rebecca Smith bought the block at 114 Mein St in 2014 and built the architecturally designed home with 793-bottle wine cellar, swimming pool and an entertaining deck overlooking the racetrack. “I thought, ‘how good would it be to just sit in the pool and watch the races?’, so we made it happen,” Mr Smith said.Ms Kortlang said the Smiths were “very happy” with the sale. 114 Mein St Hendra Brisbane is being sold by Dan and Rebecca Smith.A stunning Hamptons style property overlooking the 1400m start mark at Eagle Farm Racecourse has sold under the hammer in Hendra. Marketing agent Leigh Kortlang, of Ray White Ascot, said the home at 114 Mein St sold for $2.425 million with a crowd of more than 100 people watching on Saturday, July 22. “It felt like just about everybody in Hendra and the odd dog were there,” she said. last_img read more

Phased restart of training at SAI NCOEs: Kiren Rijiju

first_imgNEW DELHI: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said that the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) National Centres of Excellence (NCOE) across the country will be opened in a “phased manner” starting on October 1.In a review meeting held by the ministry and SAI, Rijiju also said that the re-opening of the NCOEs will be done only in accordance to the COVID-19 situation in the respective state. Athletes who will be initially allowed for training apart from the elite athletes who are in the mix for the Tokyo Olympics would be juniors who have been shortlisted in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Junior scheme. Additionally, it has also been decided that the funds extended to all SAI NCOEs will be enhanced. “Funds will be provided to upgrade existing infrastructure and equipment or procure new ones, as per the need of athletes. We are ready to provide all support needed to ensure that athletes in India have the best facilities at par with the world,” said Rijiju. (IANS) Also Watch: #NewsMakers: Bharat Bhushan Dev Choudhury, Sec. General Administration, Gov. of Assam, Dispurlast_img read more