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Hong Kong court orders Jimmy Lai back to jail

by Mustapha Olamide
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Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been ordered back to jail on Thursday because the city’s highest court sided the prosecution’s request to deny him bail.

Lai, a vocal Beijing critic, is one among the highest-profile figures charged under a sweeping security law that China imposed on the financial hub in late June in a bid to kill dissent.

He had been granted bail on December 23 after three weeks in custody on charges of fraud and endangering national security. His appeal hearing is slated for February 1.

The court said on Thursday that it had been “reasonably arguable” that the previous judge’s decision was erroneous which the order of granting bail was invalid.

The court of appeal in Hong Kong ruled for the first time during a case involving the new national security law.

“A lot of legal experts are saying this decision doesn’t mark the top of Hong Kong’s judicial independence, but it’s starting to look a touch bit shaky,” Brown said.

The three appeal court judges who ruled on Thursday are on Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s “approved list of judges” who participate in national security cases, Brown said.

“It’s safe to mention that Carrie Lam are going to be proud of today’s outcome, also as her political masters in Beijing,” he said.

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