Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai pleads not guilty in trial

HK tycoon Jimmy Lai pleads not guilty in national security trial

/ 11:59 AM January 02, 2024

HK tycoon Jimmy Lai pleads not guilty in national security trial

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai, founder of Apple Daily, looks on as he leaves the Court of Final Appeal by prison van, in Hong Kong, China February 1, 2021. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

HONG KONG — Hong Kong pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to all charges leveled against him in a high-profile national security trial that could see the city’s leading critic of the Chinese Communist Party jailed for life.

Lai faces two counts of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces – including calling for sanctions against Hong Kong and Chinese officials – under a China-imposed national security law.


Lai, 76, the founder of now-shuttered pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, is also charged with conspiracy to publish seditious publications under a colonial-era sedition law.


Western democracies, including the United States, Britain and the European Union, are watching closely, with the trial looming as a fresh diplomatic flashpoint and a key test for Hong Kong’s judicial independence and freedoms under the sweeping national security law China imposed in 2020.

Both the U.S. and Britain have called for Lai’s immediate release, saying the trial is politically motivated.

Hong Kong authorities dispute claims that Lai won’t enjoy a fair trial, saying all are equal before the law and that the national security law has brought stability to Hong Kong after mass protests in 2019.

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TAGS: Hong Kong, Jimmy Lai, Trial

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