Jimmy Lai faces life imprisonment: he will be tried for 'collusion' with foreign forces

It is one of the crimes under the national security law wanted by Beijing. Accused of giving interviews to foreign newspapers and calling for sanctions against city authorities. The democracy supporter and tycoon is already in jail on a fraud charge.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Democracy activist tycoon Jimmy Lai will be tried for "collusion" with foreign forces, a crime set forth by the national security law set up by Beijing.

The police announced the formal charges today, adding that the 73-year-old owner of the Apple Daily newspaper - a critical voice of the city's and Beijing's leadership - will appear before the judge tomorrow: he faces a life sentence.

For friends and collaborators, the local and Chinese governments want to silence Lai. He is the fourth Hong Kong citizen to be formally charged under the draconian measure, approved on June 30. It punishes the crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collaboration with foreign forces. Beijing imposed it to stifle protests from the democracy movement. More than 30 people have been arrested under the law.

The tycoon is already in prison on charges of fraud. He is charged with having improperly rented some offices of Next Digital, the publisher of Apple Daily. Due to his contacts abroad, which could help him escape, Judge Victor So Wai-tak recently denied him bail.

According to reports, the prosecutor has formulated the charge of collusion for the interviews that Lai has granted to foreign publications. He has also urged foreign governments to sanction the Hong Kong authorities for their actions against the democratic front.

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