Jimmy Lai hit with new national security charge - RTHK
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Jimmy Lai hit with new national security charge

2021-04-16 HKT 16:03
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  • Jimmy Lai is the most high-profile person charged under the national security law. File photo: AFP
    Jimmy Lai is the most high-profile person charged under the national security law. File photo: AFP
Prosecutors have pressed two additional charges against pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai, including another one under the national security law.

As well as the earlier charge of colluding with foreign powers, Lai is now also accused of conspiring with his former assistant Mark Simon, national security suspect Andy Li and others to collude with foreign powers between July 2020 and February 2021.

Prosecutors say the group urged a foreign country or organisation to impose sanctions on Hong Kong.

They also allege that Lai conspired with others, including Li and legal assistant Chan Tsz-wah, to pervert the course of justice by assisting Li in "fleeing" Hong Kong.

Lai, who has been in custody for more than four months, did not apply for bail this time after several previous bids were unsuccessful.

Wearing a grey suit, and with a book in his hand, the 73-year-old occasionally looked towards his supporters in the public gallery and nodded.

National security magistrate Victor So adjourned the hearing at West Kowloon Court to June 15, to allow time for the police to investigate the case further.

Li was one of the group of 12 Hongkongers detained on the mainland after being picked up by the Guangdong coastguard last summer during an alleged attempt to flee the SAR to Taiwan by speedboat.

He was recently brought back to the territory, after completing a prison term for "illegally crossing the border", and was charged with colluding with foreign forces.

Simon is not believed to be in Hong Kong.

Lai and two senior executives from his media company Next Digital are also accused of fraud and the court on Friday transferred this case to the District Court, with the next hearing scheduled for May 6.

Lai, administrative director Wong Wai-keung and chief operating officer Royston Chow 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 the trio allowed another company owned by Lai to run businesses from the headquarters, saving the firms HK$20 million in rent over more than two decades.

Wong and Chow were again released on bail.