Hong Kong (AP) – Shortly after the verdict against Joshua Wong and two of his fellow campaigners, another prominent supporter of the Hong Kong democracy movement went to jail.
A court on Thursday refused bail to media mogul Jimmy Lai after he and two of his employees were arrested on Wednesday on charges of fraud.
They are accused of illegally subletting offices to another company, as the Hong Kong newspaper “South China Morning Post” reported.
Lai, who owns the pro-democracy newspaper “Apple Daily,” had to spend about 40 hours in police custody in August when his company Next Digital Media was searched for alleged violations of the new national security law. .
According to media reports in Hong Kong, Lai is now expected to be held in custody until a scheduled trial in April. Until then, investigators want to collect further allegations against him.
The battle against the 71-year-old came shortly after the conviction of prominent activist Joshua Wong and two of his colleagues was handed down. A court in Hong Kong on Wednesday sentenced Wong to 13.5 months in prison. Well-known activists Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam have to spend ten and seven months in prison respectively.
The three activists had previously confessed that in June of the previous year, when there were almost daily protests against the government in Hong Kong, they had helped organize an unauthorized meeting in front of Hong Kong police headquarters or encourage others to to be present.
“The judiciary in Hong Kong is now clearly losing all inhibitions,” the chairman of the Bundestag’s human rights commission Gyde Jensen (FDP) criticized Thursday. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his assistant Carrie Lam, the head of the Hong Kong government, wanted to not only suppress the democracy movement but also silence the free press, Jensen said.
“Just as Beijing specifically and symbolically punishes actors in liberal, democratic Hong Kong, it would be an effective means of finally imposing personal sanctions on those responsible for the Chinese Communist Party,” Jensen said. The German government has until the end of the year to use the Presidency of the EU Council for such an initiative.
China passed a controversial security law for its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the end of June. It targets activities that China considers subversive, separatist or terrorist. It is the most extensive breach of Hong Kong’s autonomy to date and gives China’s state security extensive powers.