Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai sent back to jail

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai sent back to jail”

An appeal hearing is reportedly scheduled for February 1 next year.

The Chinese Communist Party's official news outlets attacked the lower court judge's decision to grant bail, calling Mr. Lai - the founder of the ardently pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily - "notorious and extremely unsafe".

A prosecutor from Hong Kong's Department of Justice on Thursday compared Lai's charges to murder, which also carries a life term, saying that the court should not grant bail.

The Hong Kong government immediately appealed that decision to the Court of Final Appeal, the city's highest court.

Lai, a vocal Beijing critic, is one of the highest-profile figures charged under a sweeping security law that China imposed on the financial hub in late June in a bid to stamp out dissent.

If the prosecutors succeed, Lai will be detained until his next court appearance on April 16.

"It is generally seen that the court of final appeal - which made the decision today - came under pressure from Beijing", he opined.

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In an editorial published on December 27, the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily said Lai was "extremely dangerous" and an "insurgent" and urged the Hong Kong judiciary to "make the right decision" in the bail appeal. Prior to being granted bail, Lai had been held in custody for almost three weeks.

Other bail conditions included surrendering his travel documents and a ban on meeting with foreign officials, publishing articles on any media, posting on social media and giving interviews.

The Chinese state-owned People's Daily said that it would not be hard for Lai to abscond, and called him "notorious and extremely risky".

They say the Chinese central government's office for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong should exercise its jurisdictional authority if the territory's judiciary "cannot handle the case properly".

On Tuesday, the mogul resigned as chairman and executive director of Next Digital, which owns the Apple Daily newspaper he founded three decades ago.

Prosecutors have accused Lai of breaching the security law over statements he made on July 30 and August 18, in which they allege he requested foreign interference in Hong Kong's affairs.

Lai tendered his resignation "in order to spend more time dealing with his personal affairs", Bloomberg News reported citing a statement from the media group.

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