Pompeo deeply troubled by Hong Kong tycoon arrest

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a news conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S. August 5, 2020. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool via Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he was “deeply troubled” by reports of the arrest of Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai “under Hong Kong’s draconian National Security Law.”

Lai became the highest-profile person arrested under a new national security law on Monday, detained over suspected collusion with foreign forces as around 200 police searched the offices of his Apple Daily newspaper.

“Further proof that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) has eviscerated Hong Kong’s freedoms and eroded the rights of its people,” Pompeo said in a Twitter post.

Separately, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said in a statement: “We are deeply troubled by the arrest of Jimmy Lai.”

He said the arrest of Lai and a number of others was an effort to intimidate pro-democracy and opposition figures and suppress independent media.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Franklin Paul and Sandra Maler