One of Hong Kong’s most high-profile entrepreneurs, the pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai, has been arrested for illegal assembly and intimidation.

The founder of newspaper Apple Daily is accused of being involved in a banned anti-government march on 31 August.

The alleged intimidation was against a journalist in 2017.

Apple Daily is frequently critical of Hong Kong and Chinese leadership. Two other pro-democracy figures were also arrested on Friday morning.

Politicians Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum were detained on suspicion of illegal assembly on 31 August.

The coronavirus outbreak has paused the city’s pro-democracy rallies – but anger against the government is still widespread.

Prior to the outbreak, the city had seen almost weekly protests, with activists having a series of demands – including more democracy and less control from Beijing.

According to an Apple Daily report, 71-year-old Lai was arrested at his home and taken to a Kowloon police station.

Police spoke to him in 2018 about the journalist incident but the investigation did not continue.

Thousands of people turned out for the August march, ignoring a government ban.

Lai is also suspected of criminally intimidating a reporter from news outlet Oriental Daily – a major rival of Apple Daily that’s seen as being pro-Beijing.

Lai – who was estimated by Forbes in 2009 to be worth $660m (£512m) – is known to be critical of the Hong Kong government.

“The establishment hates my guts,” he previously said in an interview with the New York Times. “They think I’m a troublemaker.”