Hong Kong government critic Jimmy Lai returns to court

Prominent Hong Kong democracy advocate and newspaper founder Jimmy Lai has returned to court to contest an attempt by the government to keep him in jail while facing charges under a sweeping new national security law

Hong Kong Jimmy Lai
Hong Kong Jimmy Lai

Prominent Hong Kong democracy advocate and newspaper founder Jimmy Lai returned to court Monday to contest an attempt by the government to keep him in jail while facing charges under a sweeping new national security law.

Lai was brought to the Court of Final Appeal in a prison van and entered through an inflatable tunnel virtually connected to the van’s door as large numbers of journalists sought to capture the scene.

Lai was arrested last month in a sweep against pro-democracy activists accused over their involvement in 2019 anti-government protests. First refused bail, Lai was released on appeal, leading to attacks on the judiciary from the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece People’s Daily. He was returned to jail on New Year's Eve awaiting a new hearing.

Hong Kong has jailed several pro-democracy activists in recent months, including student protest leaders Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, for their involvement in the anti-government protests.

The national security law was imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing after the city's local legislature was unable to overcome opposition to its enactment. Opponents see the law as a betrayal of China's pledge to maintain the city's legal, civil and human rights for 50 years after the handover from British colonial rule in 1997.

The law criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to intervene in the city’s affairs, effectively curbing most opposition political activity and subjecting private speech and social media postings to possible criminal punishment. Serious offenders could face up to life imprisonment.

Lai, 72, made his fortune in the retail clothing trade before branching out into media. He stepped down as publisher of the Apple Daily newspaper but the publication remains a popular forum for opposition views in a media landscape dominated by Beijing-backed outlets.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in