Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong faces new sentence over democracy protests | News in China

The media tycoon is already serving a 14-month sentence for participating in unauthorized assemblies.

Jimmy Lai, the jailed Hong Kong media tycoon and prominent pro-democracy supporter, is expected to receive a new prison sentence for his role in a demonstration on October 1, 2019, when protests erupted. anti-democracy swept the city.

This month, Lai and nine other activists pleaded guilty to organizing an unauthorized assembly. The nine included activists Lee Cheuk-yan, Figo Chan and Leung Kwok-hung, known in Hong Kong as Long Hair.

They are expected to be punished on Friday.

Lai is already serving a 14-month term for participating in similar demonstrations on August 18 and August 31, 2019.

He has been in jail since December after being denied bail on a separate trial under national security law.

He faces three charges under the new law, imposed by China in 2020 in response to protests, including alleged dealings with a foreign country.

Lai’s successive arrests have drawn criticism from Western governments and international rights groups, expressing concerns over the reduction of freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory, including freedom of speech and assembly. .

“Your Honor, in more than 40 years of struggle for democratic reform in China,” Lee told the court last week at a hearing. “This is my unconditional love, the love for my country with such a heavy heart.”

He was seen in Beijing as a traitor and an anti-China rebel.

China says broad security law, which punishes whatever Beijing considers migration, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to imprisonment forever, is essential to restore stability and prosperity.

Earlier this month, authorities frozen properties owned by Lai, including bank accounts and its 71.26 percent stake in media publisher Next Digital.

Hong Kong’s security chief sent letters to Lai and HSBC and Citibank branches this month threatens banks with seven years in prison for any dealings with the city’s billionaire accounts, according to documents found by the Reuters news agency.

The moves would undermine any tacoon attempt to reclaim coastal assets and prop up the Next Digital Apple Daily tabloid, a fierce critic of the government, one of Lai’s financial advisers said.

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