Hong Kong pro-democracy tycoon arrested again while in jail
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Hong Kong pro-democracy tycoon arrested again while in jail

Hong Kong pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai was arrested again Wednesday while in jail on suspicion of assisting a fugitive captured by China last year, according to local newspaper Oriental Daily.

Lai and nine others were arrested in August under the new national security law for suspected collusion with foreign forces. The law, which came into force in June, was created to prevent secession, subversion, organization and terrorist activities. It also punishes collusion with foreign countries to endanger Hong Kong national security. Lai was charged with fraud and with collusion under Article 29(4) of the new national security law.

Lai was denied bail in early December, and the Hong Kong High Court ordered that he be placed in custody until April. He was later granted bail on December 23, but the Court of Final Appeal revoked the bail on December 31. Lai again requested bail in early February, which the Court of Final Appeal denied on February 9.

Lai is reportedly suspected of helping Andy Li, one of 12 fugitives who were captured at sea by the Chinese coast guard last year. On December 30, 10 of the fugitives were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from seven months to three years for illegal border crossing.

Andy Li was being investigated for suspected national security crimes, and the other fugitives potentially face charges in Hong Kong over mass anti-government protests in 2019. Because of his suspected aid, Lai has been charged with colluding with foreign forces under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

Lai is currently awaiting a bail hearing set for Thursday.