Outspoken Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate and media tycoon Jimmy Lai was refused bail on Thursday on a fraud cost amid a rising crackdown on dissent within the semi-autonomous metropolis.
Jimmy Lai of Subsequent Digital, which publishes the Apple Every day newspaper, was amongst 10 individuals arrested Aug. 10 on what police mentioned was suspicion of violating a nationwide safety regulation and collusion with a international nation.
Lai, 73, was later launched on bail however police raided his firm’s places of work in October and took away paperwork.
On Wednesday, Lai and two Subsequent Digital executives have been charged with fraud over accusations that they violated lease phrases for Subsequent Digital workplace area.
Lai appeared in courtroom Thursday and was denied bail. His case has been adjourned until April 16.
Hong Kong police mentioned in an announcement Wednesday that it had arrested three males on prices of fraud, with out naming them. It additionally mentioned that considered one of them had been suspected of violating the nationwide safety regulation, and that it was nonetheless beneath investigation.
Beijing imposed the nationwide safety regulation in response to protests in Hong Kong that started in June 2019 over a proposed extradition regulation and expanded to incorporate calls for for better democracy within the former British colony.
Legislation undermines freedom of speech, says Britain
The sweeping laws prompted extra public protests and led to complaints that Beijing is violating the autonomy promised to Hong Kong when it returned to China and damaging its standing as a enterprise centre.
Apple Every day criticized the regulation on its entrance web page on July 1, calling it the “closing nail within the coffin” of the territory’s autonomy.
The British authorities had slammed Lai’s August arrest and mentioned the safety regulation was getting used to crush dissent.
The regulation is “being carried out in a method that undermines freedom of speech,” the British authorities mentioned in a report this month on the standing of the 1984 settlement for Hong Kong’s return to China.
“It’s crucial that this freedom is totally revered,” the report mentioned.
Lai was earlier arrested in February and April on prices of participating in unauthorized protests. He additionally faces prices of becoming a member of an unauthorized vigil marking the anniversary of the June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Sq..