Hong Kong media tycoon jailed after court revokes bail

Hong Kong media tycoon jailed after court revokes bail

In its determination, the court held that it was "reasonably arguable ... that the learned judge may have erred in his construction or application" of Article 42 (2) of the national security law, under which bail can only be granted to a criminal defendant if a judge has sufficient grounds to believe that the defendant will not commit acts endangering national security.

Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong billionaire, who had been arrested for taking part in Hong Kong protests in 2019, was granted bail on December 23. Lai's case is the first to involve a person accused of violating the new National Security Law, which many see as a test of the territory's judicial independence.

Lai has been calling on the worldwide community to support Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, using social media and interviews with foreign media.

His stance made him one of the main targets of the new National Security Law, passed in June, in an extremely controversial environment.

The Chinese-imposed national security law cracks down on dissent and allows people who have been charged in Hong Kong to be tried on the mainland.

The founder of newspaper Apple Daily, known for its critical coverage of Hong Kong and China, will be held in custody until February 1 when his next bail hearing is scheduled.

Lai's release last week drew intense criticism from Chinese state-run media.

But on Thursday, the judges questioned that earlier assessment.

At the base of the decision is one of the articles of the new National Security Law that decrees that "a suspect or defendant will not be bailed unless the judge has sufficient reason to believe that the suspect will not continue to perform the acts that are risky to national security".

Instead, they accepted the arguments of Hong Kong's Department of Justice, which claims that release from prison is not justified in cases of national security, which are as serious as murder cases.

Hong Kong's highest court ordered Jimmy Lai, the pro-democracy publishing tycoon, back to jail on Thursday, just days after he was freed on bail, the latest twist in the continuing, flip-flopping legal battle over one of the city's most prominent antigovernment figures.

The lawyers representing the pro-democracy magnate argued that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to change the High Court's decision.

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