Hong Kong tycoon: Jimmy Lai, 73, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy tycoon is the latest addition to being charged under the controversial law imposed by China, the National Security Law.
Mr. Lai has been accused of conspiring with foreign agents and hence endangering national security. He can, in high probability, face a long jail term for this charge. In the long list of those charged and convicted under the security law, Lai is the most influential and high profile personality to be charged.
Lai has been a fiercely active critic of Beijing and the authoritative regime of China. He is founder of Apple Daily newspaper in Hong Kong.
Lai was initially arrested in August under the law after a police raid was carried out at Apple Daily’s head office. He was however later released on bail. Now, Mr. Lao had been placed in custody since December 2, after he was denied bail on another fraud charge. Lai is due to appear in court for hearing on Saturday.
China has claimed that after a year of instability and arrests, order will be restored in Hong Kong. But the critics say that the security law implementation and extreme crackdown by Hong Kong police and authorities has silenced dissent in the territory.
Mr. Lai is a prominent supporter of pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong against China’s authority. In media industry, Lai has been a constant bug for China through his write-ups and publications. This has made him a hero in Hong Kong but a traitor on mainland, citing a threat to China’s national security.
Another prominent teenage activist Tony Chung was arrested and convicted of vandalizing and insulting the Chinese flag, and of illegal assembly. He is also set to face at least 5 years in prison. Chung is also the first public political figure to be prosecuted under the controversial law. Tony Chung was the leader of pro-democracy group which has now been disbanded.
Since the imposition of National Security Law in Hong Kong in June, China has been accelerating its suppression and offensive in the territory through disqualification of opposition legislatures and arrests of dozens of activists.