Jailed Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai faces new sentence over illegal assembly

Jailed Hong Kong media tycoon and Beijing critic Jimmy Lai is anticipated to obtain a new jail sentence over his function in an unauthorised assembly on October 1, 2019, throughout one of many metropolis’s pro-democracy rallies that yr.

This month, Lai, who’s serving a 14-month sentence for collaborating in comparable demonstrations on August 18 and August 31, 2019, and 9 different activists, pleaded responsible in District Courtroom to organising an unauthorised assembly.

He has been in jail since December after being denied bail in a separate nationwide safety trial. He faces three expenses below the new regulation, launched by China in 2020 in response to the protests, together with collusion with a overseas nation.

Lai’s repeated arrests have drawn criticism from Western governments and worldwide rights teams, who raised considerations over waning freedoms within the international monetary hub, together with freedom of speech and assembly.

Beijing sees him as a traitor and an anti-China instigator. China says the sweeping safety regulation, which punishes something Beijing considers as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with overseas forces with as much as life in jail, was important to revive stability and prosperity.

The sentencing is anticipated to be delivered on Friday by decide Amanda Woodcock, who handed Lai his illegal assembly sentence in April. Different defendants within the trial embrace activists Lee Cheuk-yan, Figo Chan and Leung Kwok-hung, who is understood in Hong Kong as Lengthy Hair.

“Your Honour, for over 40 years I’ve strived for democratic reform in China,” Lee advised the courtroom this week throughout one of many hearings. “That is my unrequited love, the love for my nation with such a heavy coronary heart.”

It comes two weeks after authorities froze belongings belonging to Lai, together with financial institution accounts and his 71.26% stake in media writer Subsequent Digital.

Hong Kong’s safety chief despatched letters to Lai and branches of HSBC and Citibank this month threatening as much as seven years in jail for any dealings with the billionaire’s accounts within the metropolis, in response to paperwork seen by Reuters.

The strikes might imperil any try by the democracy activist to maneuver offshore belongings again dwelling to prop up Subsequent Digital’s troubled Apple Day by day tabloid, a staunch authorities critic, one among Lai’s monetary advisers mentioned.

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