(HONG KONG) Court Report: Outspoken pro-democracy advocate and media tycoon Jimmy Lai of ‘ Next Digi tal which published Apple Daily was refused bail on Thursday on a fraud charge amid a growing crackdown on d issent in the semi-autonomous city and will be heard again on 16 April 2021 #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Dec.03: Jimmy Lai of Next Digital, which publishes the Apple Daily newspaper, was among 10 people arrested Aug. 10 on what police said was suspicion of violating a national security law and collusion with a foreign country: Lai, 73, was later released on bail but police raided his company’s offices in October and took away documents: The prosecution claimed Lai has spent much of his time outside Hong Kong in recent years and has “no local connections”. He would have been likely to abscond, it alleged.Lai and two senior executives from Next Digital are accused of using the company’s headquarters in Tseung Kwan O for purposes not permitted by the lease signed with Hong Kong Science Park in 1995.The prosecution alleges that Lai, administrative director Wong Wai-keung and chief operating officer Royston Chow allowed another company owned by the tycoon to run businesses from the headquarters, saving the firms HK$20 million in rent over more than two decades.Unlike Lai, Wong and Chow were released on bail following Thursday morning’s hearing, during which the prosecution said it needed more time to look at relevant bank accounts and transaction records:

Jimmy Lai of ‘ Next Digital ‘ has been refused bail on Thursday on a fraud charge according to RTHK

RTHK Latest News, [Dec 3, 2020 at 04:04]
Media tycoon Jimmy Lai remanded in custody

On Wednesday, Lai and two Next Digital executives were charged with fraud over accusations that they violated lease terms for Next Digital office space: Lai appeared in court Thursday and was denied bail. His case has been adjourned till April 16.Hong Kong police said in a statement Wednesday that it had arrested three men on charges of fraud, without naming them:

It also said that one of them had been suspected of violating the national security law, and that it was still under investigation: Beijing imposed the national security law in response to protests in Hong Kong that began in June 2019 over a proposed extradition law and expanded to include demands for greater democracy in the former British colony: The sweeping legislation prompted more public protests and led to complaints that Beijing is violating the autonomy promised to Hong Kong when it returned to China and damaging its status as a business center.

Apple Daily criticized the law on its front page on July 1, calling it the “final nail in the coffin” of the territory’s autonomy: The British government had slammed Lai’s August arrest and said the security law was being used to crush dissent: The law is “being implemented in a way that undermines freedom of speech,” the British government said in a report this month on the status of the 1984 agreement for Hong Kong’s return to China…………………“It is imperative that this freedom is fully respected,” the report said.

Lai was earlier arrested in February and April on charges of taking part in unauthorized protests: He also faces charges of joining an unauthorized vigil marking the anniversary of the June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square:

#AceNewsDesk report……………..Published: Dec.03: 2020: https://t.me/acenewsgroup/1044950

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