While street protests have largely lost momentum, anti-government and anti-Beijing sentiment persists, with China's offer of mass coronavirus testing for Hong Kong residents prompting calls for a boycott amid public distrust.
Lai owns the group which publishes anti-Beijing paper Apple Daily. His arrest marks the first time the law is being used against Hong Kong's news media.
Washington has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other top officials, prompting a sharp rebuke from Beijing.
The delay has marked a setback for the anti-China camp, which had aimed to win a majority of seats in the legislature. Joshua Wong, one of the disqualified candidates, said their resistance will continue despite crackdowns under the new security law.
Leader Carrie Lam says a third of all infections since the outbreak started have been recorded in the last fortnight. HSBC, Standard Chartered and other banks are racing to close branches or curtail working hours after the spike in cases.
TikTok to exit Hong Kong market within days, while other technology companies, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Google, Zoom and Twitter, suspend processing government requests for user data in the region over Beijing's new security laws.
China has imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, dramatically tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city in a historic move decried by Western nations as a threat to the financial hub's freedoms.
The agency for semi-autonomous city will collect intelligence and handle crimes against national security, official Xinhua news agency reports.
Seven months of massive and often violent rallies kicked off on June 9 last year when as many as one million people took to the streets to oppose a bill allowing extraditions to mainland China.
US President Donald Trump is due to announce later his response to the China's security legislation that Beijing says aims to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in the city.
Beijing unveiled plans last week for national security legislation for Hong Kong that aims to tackle secession, subversion and terrorist activities.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi insisted in Beijing that the proposed law must be imposed "without the slightest delay".
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