Hong Kong Top Court to Rule on Pro-Democracy Tycoon Jimmy Lai Bail Appeal

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Hong Kong Top Court to Rule on Pro-Democracy Tycoon Jimmy Lai Bail Appeal” – below is their description.

    (AP) Prominent Hong Kong democracy advocate and newspaper founder Jimmy Lai returned to court Monday to contest an attempt by the government to keep him in jail while facing charges under a sweeping new national security law.

    No verdict was announced following the hearing and Lai remained in custody.

    Lai was brought to the Court of Final Appeal in a prison van and entered through an inflatable tunnel as large numbers of journalists sought to capture the scene.

    Lai was arrested last month in a sweep against pro-democracy activists accused over their involvement in 2019 anti-government protests. First refused bail, Lai was released on appeal, leading to attacks on Hong Kong’s judiciary by the ruling Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.

    He was returned to jail on New Year’s Eve ahead of a new hearing.

    Hong Kong has jailed several pro-democracy activists in recent months, including student protest leaders Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, for their involvement in the anti-government protests.

    The national security law was imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing after the city’s local legislature was unable to overcome opposition to its enactment.

    Opponents see the law as a betrayal of China’s pledge to maintain the city’s legal, civil and human rights for 50 years after its handover from British colonial rule in 1997.

    The law criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to intervene in the city’s affairs, effectively curbing most opposition political activity and subjecting private speech and social media postings to possible criminal punishment. Serious offenders could face up to life imprisonment.

    Lai, 72, made his fortune in the retail clothing trade before branching out into media. He stepped down as publisher of the Apple Daily newspaper but the publication remains a popular forum for opposition views in a media landscape dominated by Beijing-backed outlets.

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    Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR), is a metropolitan area and special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China on the eastern Pearl River Delta of the South China Sea. With over 7.5 million residents of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world.

    Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the Qing Empire ceded Hong Kong Island at the end of the First Opium War in 1842. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. The whole territory was transferred to China in 1997. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong maintains separate governing and economic systems from that of mainland China under the principle of “one country, two systems”.

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