10th August 2020 – (Hong Kong) The National Security Department of the Police arrested Next Digital Media owner Jimmy Lai this morning (10th) for colluding with foreign forces and violating the “Hong Kong National Security Law.” And Jimmy Lai’s right-handed Mark Simon was wanted by the police.
Mark Simon said in a media interview on social networking site in June that he is now in Taiwan and only spends an average of 5 months in Hong Kong each year. He is wanted by Hong Kong police on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces.
Mark Simon has a close relationship with Jimmy Lai. The investigation found that at least 17 private limited companies connected with Jimmy Lai were registered with the address of Next Digital Building before March. Three of them are jointly owned by Mark Simon and Jimmy Lai while the other two are owned by Mark. Mark is accused of violating the terms of the land lease of Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate. In addition, the Taiwanese media have criticised for speculating on land.
Taiwan-listed builder Chong Hong Construction Limited announced in July 2020 that it has spent NT$6,139 million (about HK$1.6 billion) to buy land in the Da-An area, Tucheng District, New Taipei City covering an area of about 31,400 square meters. The seller was CHARTWELL HOLDING LIMITED, BEST COMBO LIMITED and a few other individuals.
According to company registry information, CHARTWELL HOLDING LIMITED’s director is Mark while BEST COMBO LIMITED’s director includes Jimmy Lai. Chong Hong Construction Limited stated that it will plan to build an office building after purchasing the land.
Lai and Mark have travelled to the United States many times. Among them, Lai met with US Vice President Mike Pence in July last year, and Mark also explained the details of the meeting. Mark has always had multiple identities. As a former employee of the CIA, he was also the advertising director of Next Digital. Outside the company, Mark Simon was alleged to have been the chairman of the Hong Kong branch of the US Republican Party and had close ties with the US ambassador to China.