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Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai was charged with fraud and denied bail Thursday, guaranteeing that one of many area’s loudest pro-democracy voices shall be behind bars till not less than spring. On Thursday a Hong Kong courtroom, discovering that he was a flight threat, ordered him to remain in custody till his subsequent listening to, presently anticipated in April.
The choice successfully sidelines one of the vital outstanding critics of the Hong Kong authorities and its backers in Beijing. As one in every of Hong Kong’s wealthiest people and founding father of the media firm Subsequent Digital, he is maybe best-known for publishing Apple Day by day, a well-liked tabloid that is usually overtly important of the Chinese language Communist Social gathering.
Prosecutors say the septuagenarian government and two senior colleagues at Subsequent Digital had been utilizing their places of work for functions that weren’t allowed below their lease. Apple Day by day stories the courtroom, discovering Lai liable to commit additional offenses, ordered him detained not less than till the case resumes April 16.
It’s not Lai’s first — and even second — arrest this 12 months. His extremely seen efforts with Apple Day by day, collectively together with his full-throated backing of pro-democracy protests and public makes an attempt to enlist U.S. assist, have ceaselessly attracted the glare of presidency attentions.
He and greater than a dozen different activists had been arrested final April for allegedly organizing and collaborating in unauthorized assemblies. And in August, Lai and several other different people — together with his two sons — had been arrested below a controversial new nationwide safety regulation imposed simply over one month earlier by Beijing.
That regulation successfully criminalized dissent within the metropolis, a former British colony that lengthy loved a measure of autonomy since its return to Chinese language management in 1997. However a lot of that authorized autonomy was sidestepped in late June below the laws, which arrange a separate channel by which Hongkongers who run afoul of Beijing could also be tried by Chinese language legal guidelines and face life imprisonment.
Suspected of violating the brand new regulation, Lai was accused in August of colluding with international forces, and the Apple Day by day newsroom was raided by some 200 law enforcement officials. Not like his newest encounter with the regulation, the rich media magnate was shortly launched on bail after his arrests earlier this 12 months.
Lai is maybe essentially the most outstanding particular person to be caught in Hong Kong’s sweeping crackdown on dissent just lately — however he’s removed from the one one. Simply someday earlier than his listening to, three outstanding Hong Kong opposition activists obtained months of jail time for organizing mass demonstrations towards the Beijing-backed authorities.