Years in prison for Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai
Hong Kong pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to five years and nine months in prison for fraud. He was also fined around a quarter of a million euros for allegedly tampering with lease contracts from his companies.
Lay, 75, owns the defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. He was already serving a 20-month prison sentence after being found guilty in part on fraud allegations in October.
In addition, Lai was sentenced to months in prison in December last year for attending commemorations of the 1989 Chinese student uprising. He also faces charges under the national security law enacted in Hong Kong in 2020 to crack down on dissidents. Officially, Lai was suspected of “colluding with foreign powers”.
Life is imminent
Lai could face a life sentence in the latest case for refusing to plea bargain with the public prosecutor. The trial was supposed to start on December 1, but it was postponed because Lay wanted foreign counsel. Hong Kong refuses to allow this on national security grounds, but no official decision has been made yet.
The media mogul is the most prominent member of the pro-democracy movement in the former British crown colony to be brought to justice. Lay was vocally critical of the restriction of civil rights there. He described China’s actions as a pretext for repression and called on foreign countries to stand up to Beijing.
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