HK Court docket Grants Bail to Tycoon Lai in Nationwide Safety, Fraud Case

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HONG KONG—A Hong Kong courtroom granted bail of HK$10 million ($1.3 million) on Dec. 23 to media tycoon Jimmy Lai, the highest-profile pro-democracy activist charged underneath the town’s new nationwide safety legislation on suspicion of colluding with overseas forces.

A right away attraction by the prosecution was rejected.

Lai is without doubt one of the monetary hub’s most ardent critics of Beijing, whereas his Subsequent Media group is taken into account one of many metropolis’s key remaining bastions of media freedom. He was arrested in August when about 200 cops raided the newsroom of his Apple Every day tabloid.

Lai, 73, who had been in custody since Dec. 3, is also charged with fraud associated to the lease of a constructing that homes Apple Every day. He was initially denied bail throughout a courtroom listening to final week.

The safety legislation—which punishes what Beijing broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with overseas forces with as much as life in jail—has been condemned by the West and human rights teams as a instrument to crush dissent within the Chinese language-ruled metropolis.

Beneath the brand new legislation, the onus is on the defendant to show they wouldn’t be a nationwide safety risk if launched on bail. Beneath Hong Kong’s common-law-based authorized system, the onus has historically been on the prosecution to show its case.

Beneath his bail phrases, Lai isn’t allowed to fulfill with overseas officers, give any media interviews, publish any articles, or submit on social media; he should stay at residence and give up his journey paperwork.

Lai has been a frequent customer to Washington, assembly with officers, together with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to rally assist for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a “traitor.”

Pompeo, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and scores of lawmakers have beforehand demanded Lai’s launch.

By Katherine Cheng. The Epoch Instances contributed to this report.

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