Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai denied bail in national security case

Hong Kong’s high court docket denied bail on Tuesday to media tycoon and Beijing critic Jimmy Lai, probably the most high-profile particular person to be charged below town’s national security regulation.

Lai had been in custody since Dec. 3, apart from when he was launched on bail for a few week late final 12 months. He was granted a HK$10 million ($1.3 million) bail by a decrease court docket on Dec. 23 just for the Courtroom of Closing Enchantment (CFA) to convey him again into custody on Dec. 31 for an additional listening to.

His return to custody was associated to Article 42 of the security regulation, which says that “no bail shall be granted to a legal suspect or defendant except the decide has enough grounds for believing that the legal suspect or defendant won’t proceed to commit acts endangering national security”.

On Tuesday, the CFA mentioned the decrease court docket utilized an “misguided line of reasoning” and “misconstrued” Article 42. The choice was unanimous.

Lai was arrested in August when about 200 cops raided the newsroom of his Apple Every day tabloid newspaper. Beijing imposed the sweeping national security regulation on the previous British colony in June 2020 after months of pro-democracy protests.

The regulation punishes something China considers subversion, secession, terrorism or collusion with international forces with as much as life in jail. Critics say it’s geared toward crushing dissent and it erodes freedoms in the semi-autonomous, Chinese language-ruled metropolis.

Its supporters say it restores stability after months of unrest. Prosecutors have accused Lai of breaching the regulation over statements he made on July 30 and Aug. 18, in which they allege he requested international interference in Hong Kong’s affairs.

Below the brand new regulation, the onus is on the defendant to show they’d not be a national security risk if launched on bail. Below Hong Kong’s widespread law-based authorized system, the onus has historically been on the prosecution to show its case.

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

Lai stepped down final 12 months as chairman of Subsequent Digital, which publishes Apple Every day, a well-liked tabloid newspaper recognized for its feisty and demanding protection of China and Hong Kong.

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