Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai ordered back to jail

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai was ordered back to jail Thursday as the city’s highest court granted prosecutors an appeal against his bail.

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

The 73-year-old served 20 days in custody before being granted bail last Wednesday on stringent conditions. He was placed under house arrest and banned from speaking publicly, including on Twitter.

But the Court of Final Appeal on Thursday granted the prosecution leave to appeal the bail decision, after they said a lower judge may “have erred in his construction or application” of Article 42 in the new legislation.

That article states that no bail should be granted unless the judge sees sufficient grounds to believe the defendant will not commit the offence again.

“We have held that it is reasonably arguable that the Judge’s decision was erroneous and that his order admitting the respondent to bail was invalid,” a determination handed down from the Court of Final Appeal read.

The appeal will be heard on February 1.


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