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Hong Kong court remands pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai until 1st February

2 min read

Anushka Mansharamani

Lai, Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy, returned to jail after the Highest Court ruled the judgment in the favour of the appeal that was filed by the prosecutors to send him back to detention.

The decision taken by the High Court will keep Jimmy Lai in jail until February even though he is not accused of any violent behaviour or crime.

Lai was sent to jail on 3rd December and was released 20 days later to house arrest. He was further directed to not speak publicly or use any form of social media.

When the decision of release was taken the Hong Kong’s justice department sought leave to appeal against the decision but, was declined by the High Court, therefore, the appeal was then filed to the Court of Final Appeal (CFA).

On 31st December, the order was passed, and the matter is further listed on 1st February.

As per the resources in the local media, the ruling was based on the various interpretations of Article 42 in the National Security Law which states that “No bail shall be granted to a criminal suspect or defendant unless the judge has sufficient grounds for believing that the criminal suspect or defendant will not continue to commit acts endangering national security.”

The CFA did not pass any final verdict on the law yet but subsequently passed an order to remand Jimmy Lai.

Jimmy Lai is facing trial for the allegations of foreign collusion, fraud, and protests.

The National Security charges (foreign collusion) are regarding the comments made by him on Twitter against the Hong Kong and Chinese governments, and the fraud charges are related to the breach in the land-lease terms.

After 20 days of remand, the High Court observed merits to his defense, and Alex Lee, the judge stated that according to him the comments made were simple comments and criticism.

The Chinese State media observed Alex Lee’s ruling as “inconceivable” and requested the central government to take jurisdiction of the case.

The police arrested 30 people under the National Security Law since June for nonviolent political crimes and 4 people were charged. Out of these, Jimmy Lai was the only one to be granted bail.