Apple four's bail pleas rejected

Local | Carine Chow 23 Jul 2021

Four former senior executives and key editorial writers of the now defunct Apple Daily were remanded in jail custody after appearing in court on national security charges.

They were denied bail by chief West Kowloon magistrate Victor So Wai-tak - one of the magistrates designated to preside over national security cases.

The four are former executive editor-in-chief Lam Man-chung, 51; former associate publisher Chan Pui-man, 51; former English-language news executive editor-in-chief and editorial writer Fung Wai-kong, 57, who goes by the pen name "Lo Fung;" and another key editorial writer, Yeung Ching-kee, 55, whose pen name is "Li Ping."

They were charged with collusion with foreign forces under the national security law between last July 1 - the day after the introduction of the law - and April 3.

They were accused of conspiring with Apple Daily Ltd, Apple Daily Printing and AD Internet, as well as the paper's founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, Next Digital former chief executive Cheung Kim-hung and Apple Daily's editor-in-chief Ryan Law Wai-kwong, to call for foreign countries or external forces "to impose sanctions or blockade, or engage in other hostile activities" against the SAR or China.

So partly lifted the reporting restriction, thereby allowing the media to report on the bail conditions suggested by the four.

In applying for bail, the four offered cash bail ranging between HK$100,000 and HK$200,000. Chan and Fung also offered a HK$100,000 surety each while Lam offered two sureties of HK$100,000 each.

They agreed to hand over all travel documents and stay in Hong Kong.

They also agreed not to accept media interviews, publish or share any articles or commit acts that might violate the national security law.

Chan, Fung and Lam also promised not to contact any foreign officials and politicians.

However, So denied all bail applications, saying he did not have sufficient reasons to believe the four would not engage in further behavior endangering national security.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor asked for the case to be adjourned until September 30, citing a need by the police to review 97 devices, including 43 computers, dozens of servers and a number of mobile phones.

The prosecutor said the police have to go through 25 boxes of documents and look into the defendants' financial situations via their bank accounts.

The request was granted and the hearing was adjourned until September 30.

Dozens of supporters were waiting outside the court to hear the case from 8am, and both the courtroom and its extension were nearly full.

That came as Lai's case on restoring his voting rights as the major shareholder of Next Digital was heard before judge Anthony Chan Kin-keung in a high court yesterday.

Lai earlier filed a writ with the court, seeking an order to allow him to exercise his voting right as the company's shareholder,

The case was adjourned to September 15.

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