(HONG KONG) — 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 Each day newspaper, was amongst 10 individuals arrested Aug. 10 on what police stated 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 had been charged with fraud over accusations that they violated lease phrases for Subsequent Digital workplace house.
Lai appeared in courtroom Thursday and was denied bail. His case has been adjourned until April 16.
Hong Kong police stated in an announcement Wednesday that it had arrested three males on fees of fraud, with out naming them. It additionally stated that one among them had been suspected of violating the nationwide safety regulation, and that it was nonetheless below 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 larger democracy within the former British colony.
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 middle.
Apple Each day criticized the regulation on its entrance web page on July 1, calling it the “ultimate nail within the coffin” of the territory’s autonomy.
The British authorities had slammed Lai’s August arrest and stated the safety regulation was getting used to crush dissent.
The regulation is “being carried out in a means that undermines freedom of speech,” the British authorities stated 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 stated.
Lai was earlier arrested in February and April on fees of participating in unauthorized protests. He additionally faces fees 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..