December 29, 2021
Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and six former executives of Next Digital and the defunct tabloid Apple Daily were remanded in custody till the next court hearing on Feb 24, on charges of violating the National Security Law for Hong Kong.
Judge Peter Law Tak-chuen, acting magistrate of the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts who is adjudicating in the case, made the decision at Tuesday’s hearing – the second one following Oct 12.
The court also approved the prosecution’s request to file an additional charge against the seven defendants for conspiring to print, publish and circulate seditious publications between April 1, 2019, and June 24 this year, in a bid to spread hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the Hong Kong judiciary, to raise discontent, incite other people to violence or other unlawful acts.
Lai also faces three other charges – two counts of colluding with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security, and conspiring to commit collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security during July 2020 and February 2021, and one count of conspiring to do an act or a series of acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice during July and August of 2020.
Six other defendants, Cheung Kim-hung, Ryan Law Wai-kwong, Yeung Ching-kee, Chan Pui-man, Fung Wai-kong and Lam Man-chung were each charged with one count of conspiring to commit collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.
The tabloid, with its printing house and internet company, is also charged with conspiracy to commit collusion with foreign forces. The case was adjourned to Feb 10.
The tabloid ceased publication on June 24, and its parent company Next Digital was ordered to wind up by the High Court on Dec 15.