Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai denied bail again

Hong Kong: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-Ying will remain in custody after being denied bail Thursday by the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Xinhua reported.

Lai, charged with fraud and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security, has been denied bail multiple times since standing trial in December.

Yesterday, the jailed Lai was arrested again in connection in the case related to 12 Hong Kongers who tried to flee to Taiwan, South China Morning Post reported citing local newspaper he owns.

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Apple Daily on Wednesday said its founder was detained under the national security law the previous night for “conspiracy to assist an offender”, and “conspiracy to collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” – a crime carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Lai is currently remanded in the maximum-security facility having previously been charged with fraud, and colluding with foreign forces under the security law.

On Feburary 9, Hong Kong’s top court ordered that Jimmy Lai would stay behind bars. Earlier, a judge had released him on an HK Dollar 10 million bond (USD 1.29 million).

Jimmy Lai, founder of the Next Digital media group and the tabloid-style Apple Daily newspaper, was placed under house arrest on December 23 after the High Court ruled he had an arguable defence for both charges and was unlikely to abscond.

He resigned as Next Digital’s chairman and executive director two days before the Court of Final Appeal sent him back to jail on New Year’s Eve.

The 12 Hong Kongers had been facing protest-related charges in Hong Kong and were fleeing to Taiwan by speedboat when the China Coast Guard intercepted them in mainland waters on August 23.

In September, the Chinese foreign ministry had confirmed that the group comprised 11 men and a woman, aged 16 to 33 have been detained while they were trying to escape China.

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