HONG KONG — Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was granted bail on Wednesday, almost three months after he had been remanded in custody on fraud and federal security-related charges.
Lai, a vocal advocate for democracy in Hong Kong, was charged with fraud on Dec. 3 for supposedly violating the rental provisions for office space because of his media business, Next Digital. He was charged back on Dec. 12 beneath the federal security legislation, on the feeling of colluding with foreign forces and undermining national security.
Lai is one of the current series of pro-democracy activists and supporters detained by Hong Kong authorities in recent months, prompting concerns that Hong Kong is breaking down on dissent after Beijing imposed federal safety legislation on the semi-autonomous Chinese land in June.
He was kept behind bars since Dec. 3.
Lai’s bail provisions need him to be restricted to his residence unless he must report to the authorities or go to court. Other demands include surrendering his travel records along with also a ban on meeting with foreign officials, publishing articles on some networking, posting on social networking, and providing interviews.
Hong Kong prosecutors appealed to possess the bond bidding but were refused.
Beijing enforced the federal security law in reaction to protests from Hong Kong that started in June 2019 above proposed extradition legislation and enlarged to include requirements for increased democracy in the former British colony.
In some specific situations, those billed under the federal security law may also face trial in southern China, in which the legal system is extremely opaque. Severe offenders of this law may face life imprisonment.
The U.S. has sanctioned more than a dozen Chinese officers and Hong Kong politicians, including the town’s pioneer, Carrie Lam, over the crackdown on resistance in the town. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted earlier that Hong Kong’s safety law”makes a mockery of justice”