Jimmy Lai, the 73-year-old Hong Kong media tycoon and advocate for democracy, was denied bail on Saturday, after being charged with the draconian national security law.
Lai was handcuffed and chained around the waist while being escorted to court earlier today, South China Morning Post reported
He is expected to spend the coming four months in detention while police comb through his social media posts and examine his overseas visits to gather evidence.
Saturday’s court ruling adds an extra hurdle to his bid to secure temporary release while awaiting trials, The Post reported.
Lai’s lawyers said they originally planned to bail him out for the previous case through the higher Court of First Instance next Tuesday. But following the latest development, they would set aside the application and reformulate it for another occasion by the end of the year.
The 17-page filing, obtained by the Post, was submitted to West Kowloon Court where Lai was charged with one count of colluding with foreign powers, an offence under the national security law Beijing imposed on Hong Kong in June.
According to prosecutors, Lai called for overseas countries to “voice out and take action” over Beijing’s suppression in a tweet tagging United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, even after the national security law came into force. In another tweet, he urged the US to “be lenient” towards young Hongkongers seeking asylum in the country.
US Defence Secretary Michael Pompeo slammed China for charging Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai under the draconian National Security Law and demanded that charges must be dropped.
Pompeo further went on to accuse the Chinese Communist Party of its authoritarian rule and making a mockery of the justice in the region.
“Hong Kong’s National Security Law makes a mockery of justice. @JimmyLaiApple’s only “crime” is speaking the truth about the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarianism and fear of freedom. Charges should be dropped and he should be released immediately,’ Pompeo tweeted.
In August 2020, the tycoon was arrested under the new National Security Law.The charge stems from comments Lai purportedly made on Twitter and in interviews asking foreign countries to sanction the city.
This comes after a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers were arrested in the month of October over protests after the draconian National Security Law was imposed on the city by Beijing.
The law criminalizes secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1.
Several of those disqualified were sitting lawmakers, who were subsequently ejected from the parliament by Beijing overruling constitutional precedent and bypassing Hong Kong’s courts on November 11, sparking the mass resignation of the entire pro-democratic camp.