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Thursday, 23 September 2021

Hong Kong's Jimmy Lai denied bail in fraud case

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Hong Kong's Jimmy Lai denied bail in fraud case
Hong Kong's Jimmy Lai denied bail in fraud case

Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai was denied bail on Thursday on a charge of fraud related to the lease of a building that houses his newspaper Apple Daily.

Flora Bradley-Watson reports.

Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai was denied bail on Thursday.

Lai, and two of his senior executives, are facing a charge of fraud relating to the lease of a building that houses Lai's Apple Daily, an anti-government tabloid.

Authorities have intensified a crackdown on key opposition figures in the Chinese-ruled city, following Beijing's imposition of a national security law on June 30.

The new law punishes anything China considers subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces.

Lai, and his colleagues are accused of falsely representing the use of their office to their landlord.

While the fraud charge does not fall under the new law, the case marks another crackdown on pro-democracy figures.

Lai's appearance in court came just a day after one of Hong Kong's most prominent activists, Joshua Wong, was jailed for more than 13 months for his role in an unlawful anti-government rally in 2019.

Back in August, Lai was arrested after about 200 police raided his offices.

Hong Kong police later said they had arrested nine men and one woman for suspected offenses, including collusion with a foreign country to endanger national security.

Lai has been a frequent visitor to Washington, where he's met with senior officials to rally support for Hong Kong's democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a "traitor."

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