Security law judge to handle Jimmy Lai case

Local | Sophie Hui 11 Dec 2020

A judge responsible for national security cases will handle the bail application by Next Digital founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying next Tuesday.

The 73-year-old media mogul has been remanded in jail custody at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre over a fraud charge pending his next court appearance in April.

High Court Justice Alex Lee Wan-tang, a designated judge for national security cases, will handle Lai's bail application.

Lai went to the higher court after West Kowloon chief magistrate Victor So Wai-tak, a designated judge for national security cases, denied Lai's application for bail last Thursday, citing he was a flight risk and could re-offend.

Lai and his co-defendants, Next's chief operating officer Royston Chow Tat-kuen, 63, and administration director Wong Wai-keung, 59, face a joint count of fraud for allegedly deceiving Hong Kong Science Park over the use of an industrial estate.

Chow and Wong were granted bail.

Chan Pui-Man, editor-in-chief of Apple Daily, and Next Magazine's former publisher Yeung Wai-hong visited Lai yesterday.

Chan said of Lai: "He's spry. He told colleagues not to worry about him and to continue our work in producing good news stories."

She added Lai can read newspapers but has not received the books brought by his son last week.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun visited Lai on Sunday, where he performed Mass in Lai's cell, Chan said, and Lai said he would accept the cross given by god with pleasure.

Separately, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China and the Civil Human Rights Front drove around the city to collect signatures from citizens protesting the arrests of activists on Human Rights Day yesterday.

Meanwhile, League of Social Democrats chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming and vice-chair "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung protested outside the Hong Kong Liaison Office in Sai Ying Pun with prison props, calling for the release of political prisoners and the abolition of the security law.

Also on Human Rights Day, Filipino migrant group United Filipinos complained their group was being harassed and "red-tagged" on social media by supporters of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte amid the new anti-terror bill against alleged leftist groups opposing his governance amid the pandemic.

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