Hong Kong: court sentences Jimmy Lai on fraud charges

  • 12 Dec 2022

The journalist and Apple Daily founder has been sentenced to five years and nine months amid ongoing persecution by Hong Kong authorities.

The National Union of Journalists has joined the International Federation of Journalists in urging authorities in Hong Kong to overturn the conviction of journalist Jimmy Lai.

Lai has been sentenced to five years and nine months in prison for fraud by Hong Kong’s district court. In a ruling on 10 December, judge Stanley determined that through alleged concealment of Dico Consultants Limited’s operations from the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Corporation, Lai and former Next Digital administrative director Wong Wai-keung had criminally breached the former news outlet’s lease agreement.

Charges against Lai are being brought under the oppressive national security law that has led to an exodus of journalists fleeing Hong Kong in recent years. His trial is adjourned until 13 December following intervention from John Lee, Hong Kong chief executive seeking a ruling from Beijing authorities on whether the journlalist may be represented by UK counsel.

The IFJ said:

“The Hong Kong authorities must immediately end the protracted legal persecution of Jimmy and withdraw all charges against him. As Lai’s unjust trial under the draconian national security law commences, the IFJ calls on governments, civil society, and media organisations worldwide to condemn the destruction of independent media in Hong Kong and to support journalists and media workers fleeing from an increasingly perilous working environment.”

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