HONG KONG — Jimmy Lai, the founding father of Hong Kong’s greatest pro-democracy newspaper, was denied bail on fraud fees on Thursday and ordered jailed till April by a courtroom.
The detention of Mr. Lai, 72, got here a day after three leading Hong Kong activists were sentenced to prison for participating in a protest last year, the most recent blow to the territory’s pro-democracy motion.
The Chinese language authorities imposed a sweeping nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong on the finish of June, and Mr. Lai became the law’s most high-profile target in August, when he was arrested alongside along with his two sons and 4 executives of his media firm, Subsequent Digital.
However the brand new fraud fees are unrelated to the safety legislation. Somewhat, they accuse Mr. Lai of violating the phrases of the lease of Subsequent Digital’s headquarters, the public broadcaster RTHK reported.
Two different Subsequent Digital executives have been charged with fraud however have been granted bail on Thursday, RTHK mentioned. Shares of Subsequent Digital have been suspended from buying and selling on Thursday morning pending an announcement from the corporate.
Legal professionals for Mr. Lai will enchantment the bail ruling, a course of that may take at the very least eight days, mentioned Mark Simon, an aide to Mr. Lai.
Mr. Lai and his newspaper have been vocal supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, and so they have been amongst Beijing’s greatest targets because it has moved to quash dissent within the territory.
The protests have largely quieted this 12 months due to social distancing restrictions, aggressive police techniques and the brand new safety legislation. Greater than two dozen individuals have been arrested below the legislation. Beijing authorized the removal of four pro-democracy lawmakers last month, which prompted the mass resignation of the pro-democracy camp from the Hong Kong legislature.
Along with Apple Every day, a number of different Hong Kong information shops have come below stress in current months. A reporter for RTHK who investigated the police was arrested last month over her use of a database of license plates.
And that i-Cable, the most important pay tv operator, mentioned this week that it was shedding greater than 100 workers members. That group included about 40 journalists, together with its total investigative group often called Information Lancet, according to local news reports.