Hong Kong tycoon and Beijing-critic Jimmy Lai ordered back to jail pending trial

ANI
·2-min read
Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai
Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai

Hong Kong, December 31 (ANI): Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been ordered back to jail on Thursday as the city's highest court sided with the prosecution's request to deny him bail, Al Jazeera reported.

Lai, a vocal Beijing critic, is one of the highest-profile figures charged under a sweeping security law that China imposed on the financial hub in late June in a bid to stamp out dissent.

He was granted bail last week and allowed to return to his home. He was taken to custody almost three weeks ago.

According to Al Jazeera, a judge in the Hong Kong High Court on Wednesday granted bail at HKD 10 million (USD 1.3 million) and imposed a series of conditions that Lai remains at home, should not post anything on social media, give interviews or meet foreign officials and was also required to surrender his passport.

First arrested in August this year when about 200 police officers stormed the newsroom of his Apple Daily tabloid, which was live-streamed by the newspaper's journalist to viewers.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had slammed China for charging Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai under the draconian National Security Law and demanded that charges must be dropped.

Pompeo further went on to accuse the Chinese Communist Party of its authoritarian rule and making a mockery of the justice in the region."

In August 2020, the tycoon was arrested under the new National Security Law. The charge stems from comments Lai purportedly made on Twitter and in interviews asking foreign countries to sanction the city.

This comes after a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers were arrested in the month of October over protests after the draconian National Security Law was imposed on the city by Beijing.

The law criminalizes secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1.

Several of those disqualified were sitting lawmakers, who were subsequently ejected from the parliament by Beijing overruling constitutional precedent and bypassing Hong Kong's courts on November 11, sparking the mass resignation of the entire pro-democratic camp. (ANI)