HK court docket grants tycoon Jimmy Lai bail in nationwide security, fraud situation

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – A Hong Kong court docket granted HK$10 million ($1.3 million) bail on Wednesday to media tycoon Jimmy Lai, the optimum profile professional-democracy activist billed less than the city’s new countrywide safety law on suspicion of colluding with international forces.

An speedy charm by the prosecution was then denied on the same working day.

Lai is one particular of the financial hub’s most ardent critics of Beijing, though his Up coming Media group is deemed one of the important remaining bastions of media freedom. He was arrested in August when about 200 police officers raided the newsroom of his Apple Day by day tabloid.

Lai, 73, who had been in custody because Dec. 3, is also billed with fraud connected to the lease of a creating that properties Apple Each day.

The protection regulation – which punishes what Beijing broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to lifestyle in jail – has been condemned by the West and human rights teams as a resource to crush dissent in the semi-autonomous, Chinese-dominated city.

Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing say the law is vital to plug gaping holes in countrywide protection defences uncovered by months of occasionally violent anti-government and anti-China protests that rocked the global fiscal hub final 12 months.

Underneath the new legislation, the onus is on the defendant to show they would not be a national stability risk if released on bail. Under Hong Kong’s widespread regulation-dependent authorized system, the onus has customarily been on the prosecution to show its circumstance.

Below his bail terms, Lai is not allowed to meet up with with overseas officers, give any interviews, publish any posts or write-up on social media, and will have to continue being at dwelling and surrender his vacation files.

The tycoon has been a frequent visitor to Washington, assembly with officials, which includes Secretary of Condition Mike Pompeo, to rally assistance for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a “traitor”.

($1 = 7.7523 Hong Kong pounds)

Reporting by Katherine Cheng Writing by Marius Zaharia Enhancing by Tom Hogue

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