HONG KONG – Media tycoon and Beijing critic Jimmy Lai, will continue in custody after top court said bail would be announced on a later date.
Lai, who is the most high-profile person charged under the national security law, had been in custody since Dec. 3. He was, however, released on bail for about a week late last year. He was granted a HK$10 million bail by a lower court on Dec. 23 only for the Court of Final Appeal to bring him back into custody on Dec. 31 for another hearing.
His return to custody was related to Article 42 of the security law, which says that “no bail shall be granted to a criminal suspect or defendant unless the judge has sufficient grounds for believing that the criminal suspect or defendant will not continue to commit acts endangering national security”.
Lai was accused of breaching the law over statements he made on July 30 and Aug. 18, in which Prosecutors allege that he requested foreign interference in Hong Kong’s affairs.
Under the new law, the onus is on the defendant to prove they would not be a national security threat if released on bail. Under Hong Kong’s common law-based legal system, the onus has traditionally been on the prosecution to prove its case.