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Hong Kong Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai Appears In Court On Security Charge

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai (C) is led right into a police van as he heads to court docket to be charged underneath the territory’s controversial new nationwide safety regulation on December 12, 2020 as he’s accused of conspiring with international forces to hazard nationwide safety, and will face a prolonged jail time period.
Peter PARKS / AFP

 

Hong Kong media tycoon and Beijing critic Jimmy Lai appeared in court docket Saturday to face a cost underneath a sweeping new nationwide safety regulation that sees him jailed for all times.

He is accused of colluding with international nations by calling on abroad governments to sanction Hong Kong and China in response to the crackdown on pro-democracy activism within the metropolis.

Lai, 73, is probably the most high-profile determine charged underneath the regulation, which has focused town’s pro-democracy motion however introduced a semblance of calm to the finance hub after months of often-violent protests.

The police’s new nationwide safety division charged him Friday with “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” underneath the robust regulation imposed on town by Beijing. The offence carries a penalty of as much as life imprisonment.

The prosecutor informed the court docket that Lai broke the safety regulation between July 1 and December 1 by requesting {that a} international nation or establishment, organisation, or particular person “impose sanctions or blockade, or engage in other hostile activities” in opposition to Hong Kong and China.

 

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Lai, wearing a go well with and calm all through, stated he acknowledged the cost.

Chief Magistrate Victor So, one of many six magistrates hand-picked by town’s pro-Beijing chief Carrie Lam to deal with nationwide safety circumstances, stated the prosecution wanted time to additional examine.

This included analyzing greater than a thousand messages from Lai’s Twitter accounts, a lot of media interviews the tycoon gave, and a lot of abroad visits in relation to requires US sanctions in opposition to Hong Kong and China.

After the listening to, Lai’s supporters shouted phrases of encouragement, which he returned with a heart-shape hand gesture.

– Twitter and interviews –

Lai’s common Apple Daily newspaper, citing sources, stated the majority of the police case revolved round social media posts and interviews Lai gave to Western media.

It reported that the police allegations stated Lai had adopted 53 folks on Twitter together with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, and a member of Britain’s Conservative Party, Luke de Pulford, and that he had 120,000 followers together with Tiananmen pupil protest leaders Wang Dan and Wuer Kai Xi.

The report additionally stated the prosecution accused Lai of publishing remarks that focused China and Hong Kong by way of Twitter after the safety regulation got here into drive.

It additionally stated Lai had given interviews to CNN, Fox News, Bloomberg, the New York Times, BBC Chinese and different international media calling for assist from the West and sanctions on China.

Lai’s Apple Daily is unashamedly pro-democracy and fiercely crucial of authorities. Police raided the paper’s headquarters in August and arrested a string of senior firm figures, together with Lai.

Last week, he was denied bail and remanded in custody till April after being charged with fraud. He was set to use for bail on that cost on the High Court on Tuesday.

He was denied bail on Saturday.

The controversial safety regulation additionally permits some trials to be heard behind closed doorways, and even be tried in mainland China.

Beijing’s clampdown on Hong Kong, particularly outstanding political figures, has dramatically accelerated because it imposed the safety regulation in June.

Opposition lawmakers have been disqualified from the legislature and main democracy activists have been jailed.

Two dozen folks have been arrested underneath the regulation and 4 have thus far been formally charged.

-AFP

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