Hong Kong media magnate Jimmy Lai in visit to anti-graft agency

Hong Kong media magnate Jimmy Lai in visit to anti-graft agency

HONG KONG - Hong Kong media magnate Jimmy Lai, an outspoken critic of Beijing who has backed pro-democracy activists through his publications and donations, visited the territory's anti-corruption agency on Wednesday, after a recent raid on his home.

An agency representative declined to give details of Lai's visit, but it is common for the agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), to call in individuals for questioning as part of its investigations.

Neither Lai nor his spokesman was immediately available for comment.

Hong Kong has been deeply polarised and hit by protests over how its next leader will be chosen in 2017, whether by a free vote, as pro-democracy campaigners want, or from a list of pro-Beijing candidates.

Lai's role as the main financial patron of the pro-democracy movement since Hong Kong's 1997 handover to Communist Party rulers in China has come under scrutiny.

The owner of Hong Kong-based media company Next Media Ltd , Lai arrived at the agency's headquarters in a black van, accompanied by two unidentified people, a Reuters witness said.

On Aug 28, agency officers raided Lai's home and those of his deputy and Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan. The agency said the raids were part of a bribery investigation.

Lai is a self-made millionaire and his company publishes Next Magazine and the popular pro-democracy Apple Daily tabloid newspaper.

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