The media tycoon is now charged with helping a group of 12 pro-democracy activists trying to flee to Taiwan. Arrested in Shenzhen, the twelve are now on trial. This is the second charge against Lai under national security legislation; he is currently held in a maximum security prison. His bail hearing is set for tomorrow.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Hong Kong authorities have issued another arrest warrant for Jimmy Lai, the Apple Daily and the Oriental Daily reported today.
The media tycoon was notified yesterday in Stanley Prison, a maximum security facility, where he is awaiting trial on charges of corruption and threatening national security.
The new charge is that Lai helped Andy Li, one of 12 anti-government activists who tried to flee to Taiwan last summer.
The group was arrested in Shenzhen, and 10 of them were tried and given prison sentences ranging from 10 months to three years; two minors were returned to Hong Kong to await trial.
The offence attributed to Lai falls under the security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong. His support for Li is being treated as collusion with foreign forces or “external elements”.
Chan Tse-wah, a 29-year-old paralegal, is one of the people arrested in October for helping the group of 12 detained in Guangdong. Suspected of “plotting” with Lai, Chan appeared before a court in West Kowloon today.
Jimmy Lai is one the nine pro-democracy figures who went on trial yesterday for organising and taking part in a major demonstration against Hong Kong’s proposed extradition law on 18 August 2019.
Tomorrow, the media tycoon will appear before the Court of First Instance, which will consider his new bail application.
Lai was jailed in early December, but was placed under house arrest after the High Court accepted his bail application on 23 December.
At the request of the Department of Justice, the Court of Appeal overturned his release on 31 December and ordered him back to jail.
On 9 February, the Court of Final Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision against his release.