The media tycoon and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai has been granted bail by Hong Kong’s high court, after 20 days in jail on charges of fraud and foreign collusion. Lai was released into house arrest on a HK$10m (£960,000) bond on Wednesday afternoon. He was ordered to surrender all travel documents and banned from speaking to the press, making public statements, using social media, meeting foreign officials and “colluding with foreign forces”, local media reported. Lai had been in jail since 3 December, when he was charged with fraud and denied bail. Ten days later, he was denied bail again, on charges of foreign collusion under the national security law. On Wednesday the high court, including one judge known to have been appointed to oversee national security cases, ordered Lai’s release, albeit under the strict conditions. Within hours the department of justice said it was applying for leave to appeal, RTHK reported. The fraud charges – laid against Lai and two Next Digital Media executives – related to accusations the trio breached land-lease terms by misusing Next Digital’s office space in Tseung Kwan O for other purposes. The foreign collusion charges were reportedly based on Lai’s tweets and published commentary,… Read full this story
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