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Hong Kong court orders government to pay $110,000  in legal fees to jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai

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Jimmy Lai law insider

LI Network

Published on: 23 December 2022 at 11:20 IST

Hong Kong court ordered the government to pay $110,000 (£90,099) in legal fees to Apple Daily owner and media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying.

Hong Kong Court of Appeal asked secretary for justice Paul Lam Ting-kwok to bear the costs of Mr Lai’s legal expenses.

This order came after the city’s justice secretary lost the battle to block a UK lawyer from representing him in his national security trial.

Court said, it would only require costs to be paid for two of Mr Lai’s legal counsel, as he had failed to justify any “exceptional circumstances” that required him to engage four lawyers in the proceedings, the local media reported.

The legal tangle dates back to October when the High Court’s chief judge allowed the London-based barrister to defend the 75-year-old founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper against charges of colluding with foreign forces, the South China Morning Post reported.

Earlier this month, the court delayed Mr Lai’s national security trial until September next year, after a hearing revealed that Mr. Jimmy Lai’s British Advocate had been denied a visa extension and forced to leave.

Jimmy Lai is facing charges under Hong Kong’s colonial sedition law, as well as three other charges related to foreign collusion under the national security law.

Mr Lai was arrested after Beijing imposed the contentious national security law after the massive pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, observers of China have accused Beijing of trying to crush dissent and press freedom in Hong Kong using the national security law, under which alleged crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces are punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Jimmy Lai was facing a maximum penalty of life imprisonment on charges of two counts of conspiracy to commit collusion with foreign countries or external elements and one count of collusion with foreign forces under the national security law.