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Chinese authorities indict opposition media mogul Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong

Chinese authorities indict opposition media mogul Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong

Prosecutors in Hong Kong have recently filed new charges against opposition media mogul and publisher Jimmy Lai. He is charged with “conspiracy with a foreign state to create a threat to national security.” This is reported by the South China Morning Post.

The businessman is accused of violating the new national security law in Hong Kong. Prosecutors believe that Lai asked a foreign state, institution, organization, or individual to “impose sanctions or engage in other hostile activities against China.”

If a businessman is found guilty, he could face life in prison. On Saturday, the court refused to release Lai on bail. He will remain under arrest until April 2021. Lai is also accused of fraud involving the use of the headquarters of his Next Digital media holding for purposes not permitted in the lease of the building.

Jimmy Lai, 72, owns Next Digital, a media holding that owns the popular Hong Kong liberal newspaper Apple Daily. The businessman is an active supporter of the protests in Hong Kong against the influence of Beijing. He was arrested more than once. Chinese authorities consider Lai to be the main organizer of last year's protests in Hong Kong against mainland pressure.

Recall that Jimmy Lai and seven other men aged 39 to 72 were arrested in Hong Kong on August 10 on suspicion of violating the new security law during a unified police operation. The media mogul is accused of “conspiracy with a foreign state, making seditious speeches and a fraudulent conspiracy.”

Among those arrested are Lai's two sons and two top managers of the Next Digital corporation he heads. It was the largest operation of its kind since the Hong Kong National Security Act took effect on June 30.

The arrest of the opposition publisher was condemned by the European Union, the United States declared support for Lai, and the international human rights organization Amnesty International called for an end to the persecution of journalists in Hong Kong.

Jimmy Lai was released on bail of about 32,000 euros in Hong Kong dollars on August 12.

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