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HONG KONG — Jimmy Lai, the founding father of Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy newspaper, was denied bail on fraud prices on Thursday and ordered jailed till April by a court docket.

The detention of Mr. Lai, 72, got here a day after three main Hong Kong activists had been sentenced to jail for taking part in a protest final 12 months, the most recent blow to the territory’s pro-democracy motion.

The Chinese language authorities imposed a sweeping nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong on the finish of June, and Mr. Lai grew to become the legislation’s most high-profile goal in August, when he was arrested alongside together with his two sons and 4 executives of his media firm, Subsequent Digital.

However the brand new fraud prices are unrelated to the safety legislation. Relatively, they accuse Mr. Lai of violating the phrases of the lease of Subsequent Digital’s headquarters, the general public broadcaster RTHK reported.

Two different Subsequent Digital executives had been charged with fraud however had been granted bail on Thursday, RTHK stated. Shares of Subsequent Digital had been suspended from buying and selling on Thursday morning pending an announcement from the corporate.

Legal professionals for Mr. Lai will attraction the bail ruling, a course of that may take not less than eight days, stated Mark Simon, an aide to Mr. Lai.

Mr. Lai and his newspaper have been vocal supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, and so they have been amongst Beijing’s largest targets because it has moved to quash dissent within the territory.

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The protests have largely quieted this 12 months due to social distancing restrictions, aggressive police techniques and the brand new safety legislation. Greater than two dozen folks have been arrested below the legislation. Beijing licensed the removing of 4 pro-democracy lawmakers final month, which prompted the mass resignation of the pro-democracy camp from the Hong Kong legislature.

Along with Apple Each day, a number of different Hong Kong information shops have come below strain in latest months. A reporter for RTHK who investigated the police was arrested final month over her use of a database of license plates.

And that i-Cable, the largest pay tv operator, stated this week that it was shedding greater than 100 employees members. That group included about 40 journalists, together with its complete investigative workforce often called Information Lancet, in keeping with native information stories.

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