Hong Kong’s High Court on Thursday denied another bail application made by Beijing critic and pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, according to the South China Morning Post. Lai was arrested under national security law in August 2020 when authorities raided his newspaper’s headquarters.
The decision comes just a week after the Court of Final Appeal overturned a lower court’s judgment granting Lai bail applied an “erroneous line of reasoning … and could not be supported.” However, the court allowed Lai’s legal team to submit a new bail application to the High Court.
Lai is the most high-profile individual charged under the city’s new national security law. The law seeks to prevent “secession, subversion, organization and perpetration of terrorist activities.” It further punishes collusion with foreign countries believed to “endanger the national security of Hong Kong.” Prosecutors accused Lai of “traitorous activity,” alleging he requested foreign aid to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs.
Lai was released in December 2020 on HK$10 million bond and placed under house arrest for about a week before returning to imprisonment. Lai was arrested a second time—while already in prison—on Wednesday on suspicion of abetting 12 fugitives who attempted to flee to Taiwan last summer. He will remain in custody while he stands trial alongside six former opposition lawmakers for allegedly organizing and participating in an illegal march against the controversial, now-withdrawn extradition bill.
Madam Justice Anetha Pang Po-kam denied Lai’s second bail application. She stated she would hand down a written ruling and explanation of her decision soon.