Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai Granted Bail

Hong Kong’s High Court has granted bail to media tycoon and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai on Dec. 23, 20 days after being sent to jail on charges under the controversial security law.

Hong Kong’s High Court has granted bail to media tycoon and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai on Dec. 23, 20 days after being sent to jail on charges under the controversial security law.

Judge Alex Lee released Lai into house arrest and ordered him to pay a HK$10 million (US$1.3 million) bond and to surrender all his travel documents.

The judge also imposed a number of restrictions for the bail, which includes banning Lai from issuing public statements, publishing any articles, using social media, speaking to the press, and meeting with foreign officials or foreign institutions considered as hostile to China.

The founder of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper, which has been critical of the mainland Chinese government, had been in custody since Dec. 2 when he was charged with fraud related to the lease of the office building that houses the newspaper. He was also denied bail.

A week later, he was separately charged with foreign collusion under the national security law and was denied bail again.

According to reports, the foreign collusion charges were based on Lai’s published commentary, interviews with foreign media, and tweets.

Some of Lai’s alleged crimes that the police cited took place before the security law came into force, including a tweet addressed to United States President Donald Trump to call for sanctioning Chinese officials. Lai also had traveled to the U.S. to meet prominent officials, which also took place before the security law was imposed.

Both cases are set to return to court in early April.


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