The Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai has been denied bail, after being charged with colluding with overseas entities beneath the town’s new nationwide safety regulation.
Lai, who marked his 72nd birthday in jail this week, appeared in court docket on Saturday handcuffed to a sequence round his waist, and led by a police officer.
He was charged on Friday with offences together with asking overseas nations to impose sanctions on Hong Kong or China, and taking different “hostile motion”, native media sources – together with his personal newspaper, Apple Each day – reported. The costs are reportedly based mostly on issues he has tweeted and commentaries he has printed, in addition to interviews with overseas media.
A few of the acts flagged by police had been dedicated earlier than the nationwide safety regulation got here into power. They embody a tweet from Might asking Donald Trump to sanction Chinese language officers, and his resolution in June to launch an English-language version of Apple Each day, the paper stated.
The presiding choose adjourned the case till 16 April to permit prosecutors extra time to sift by means of Lai’s Twitter account and different proof they cited within the listening to, the South China Morning Put up reported.
He was denied bail on the grounds that some alleged offences within the present case had been dedicated whereas Lai was awaiting trial on different costs, so he faces not less than 4 months in pre-trial detention.
After Lai was charged on Friday, the US vice-president, Mike Pence, tweeted his help, calling him a “hero” and referring to the fees as “an affront to freedom-loving folks all over the place”. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, known as for Lai’s rapid launch.
Lai is essentially the most high-profile determine focused beneath the sweeping nationwide safety regulation handed this summer season by Beijing, after greater than a yr of road protests that had morphed right into a broad pro-democracy motion.
The regulation permits Chinese language safety forces to function from Hong Kong and has successfully curtailed the restricted autonomy which the town was meant to take pleasure in till 2047, beneath the phrases of the 1997 handover from British colonial rule.
It has been used towards pro-democracy politicians, the media, protesters and lecturers. Lai was first arrested after police raided the places of work of his media firm in August, however launched on bail. In early December, when he reported to a police station beneath the phrases of his bail settlement, he was arrested and held on fraud costs.
The nationwide safety regulation’s harsh penalties imply that if convicted, Lai might spend the remainder of his life in jail. It sanctions life imprisonment for broadly outlined crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with overseas forces.