HK media mogul Jimmy Lai to remain in custody
Hong Kong, Feb. 9 (IANS): Hong Kongs top court on Tuesday ordered media tycoon Jimmy Lai to remain in custody before his trial on charges of fraud and colluding with foreign forces.
As the Court of Final Appeal lacks jurisdiction to handle Lai’s application, Chief Justice Andrew Cheung said that the tycoon, who has spent a total of 59 days in jail till date, may apply for bail once again at the High Court, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
He had appeared in West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts for trial on December 3 and 12, 2020 respectively. The two cases were adjourned and Lai’s bail applications were rejected.
But on December 23, 2020, Lai, founder of the Next Digital media group and the tabloid-style Apple Daily newspaper, applied to the High Court for bail and succeeded after which he was placed under house arrest.
Unsatisfied with the court’s decision, the Department of Justice of the Hong Kong government applied to the Court of Final Appeal for leave to appeal and requested that Lai be remanded in custody pending the issuance of the appeal verdict.
The Court of Final Appeal then granted leave for the appeal application on December 31, 2020 and Lai was remanded in custody immediately.
Lai’s case is the first time the Court of Final Appeal has tackled proceedings stemming from the national security law, which was enacted on the city by China on June 30, 2020, to ban acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
He is also the most high-profile person to be charged under the law.