Dec 10, 2022 - World
Jimmy Lai, pro-democracy tycoon, sentenced to 5 years in Hong Kong prison
Hong Kong sentenced a pro-democracy media tycoon to five years and nine months in prison Saturday, the Associated Press reports.
Why it matters: The media mogul, Jimmy Lai, is considered one of the most prominent critics of China, and activists see his sentencing as a major blow to freedom within the city, The New York Times reports.
Details: Lai was found guilty of two counts of fraud for violating the terms of a lease contract for his pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, Reuters reports.
- He was charged in 2020 for renting space to his own consultancy firm, Dico Consultants Ltd, violating the contract.
- Judge Stanley Chan said Saturday that the violations were “organized and planned" over 20 years and Lai used Next Digital as “an umbrella of protection," according to AP.
- He said the protection of Lai "wasn't equivalent to an attack on press freedom," per Reuters.
Flashback: Lai has been behind bars since he was arrested during Hong Kong's crackdown on protests in 2019, per AP.
- The anti-government protests led to a number of arrests of top executives and activists.
- Hong Kong authorities "detained opposition figures, forced news outlets to close and arrested and jailed protesters and activists," according to The New York Times.
More from Axios:
Beijing's national security law takes a toll in Hong Kong
Free press crackdowns intensify in Hong Kong