Hong Kong remands media mogul over fraud charge

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Media mogul Jimmy Lai was remanded in custody by a Hong Kong security court on Thursday, lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick confirmed.

“The founder of @appledaily_hk, Jimmy Lai was denied bail by the national security court this morning. He will be in custody until April 16, 2021, at least. He faces a charge of fraud with two senior staff,’’ the lawmaker tweeted.

The South China Morning Post reported that Jimmy and two executives from his media firm Next Digital are charged with defrauding government owned business.

Jimmy was arrested late Wednesday on alleged fraud charges related to a raid on his Next Digital headquarters in August and appeared before a special national security court in Hong Kong on Thursday morning.

In a statement, the National Security Service of the Police Force said it had charged three men on fraud charges on Wednesday evening.

The 72-year-old Jimmy is the owner of pan-democratic newspaper, Apple Daily.

He is well known internationally for being an outspoken critic of China and an advocate for Hong Kong’s democracy movement.

Jimmy was detained in August for breaching the city’s new national security law, as Beijing further tightens its hold on the city.

Jimmy, his sons and several senior executives were arrested on Aug. 10, after police raided the newspaper’s headquarters in what looked like a dramatic crackdown involving hundreds of police officers.

Activist Agnes Chow from the now disbanded group Demosisto was also arrested.

At the time, Jimmy and Agnes took to social media to document their detentions with the help of friends and colleagues.

Jimmy was remanded in custody a day after a Hong Kong court on Wednesday sentenced prominent activist Joshua Wong to 13.5 months in prison.

Agnes and fellow activist Ivan Lam were jailed for 10 and seven months respectively.

Beijing imposed the national security law on semi-autonomous Hong Kong on June 30, the eve of the former British colony’s 23rd handover anniversary back to China.

The national security law, which broadly targets secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces and terrorism has garnered widespread international criticism.

This has resulted in countries including Britain, the United States and Germany announcing the suspension of their extradition treaties with the territory. (dpa/NAN)

– Dec. 3, 2020 @ 10:52 GMT |

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