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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and activist Agnes Chow released on bail

Hong Kong media tycoon and Apple Daily owner Jimmy Lai was released on bail shortly after midnight on Wednesday, nearly two days after being arrested under Bejing's new national security law.

Lai was mobbed by a large crowd of media and a throng of supporters outside the Mong Kok police station who chanted "support Apple Daily until the end" in Cantonese. Lai did not speak with media after being released from police custody and was quickly driven away from the scene. Apple Daily readers had queued from the early hours of Tuesday to get copies of the newspaper, a day after police raided its offices and took Lai into detention, the highest-profile arrest under the national law.

Mainland-born Lai, who was smuggled into Hong Kong on a fishing boat when he was a penniless 12-year-old, is one of the most prominent democracy activists in the city and an ardent critic of Communist Party rule in Beijing. Meanwhile in Hong Kon's Tai Po district, young politcal activist Agnes Chow was also realsed on bail just before midnight.
Chow spoke outside the precint saying her arrest was a "political persecution,"and accused the regime of using the national security law to "suppress political dissidents." The security law punishes anything China considers subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. Critics say it crushes freedoms, while supporters say it will bring stability after prolonged anti-China, pro-democracy protests last year.

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