Hong Kong media magnate Jimmy Lai visits anti-corruption agency

Jimmy Lai (right), owner of Hong Kong-based media company Next Media Ltd, arrives at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) headquarters in Hong Kong on Sept 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Jimmy Lai (right), owner of Hong Kong-based media company Next Media Ltd, arrives at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) headquarters in Hong Kong on Sept 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (Reuters) - 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 Mr 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 Mr Lai nor his spokesman was immediately available for comment.

The owner of Hong Kong-based media company Next Media Ltd, Mr 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 Mr 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.

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.

Mr 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.

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