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Hong Kong Tycoon Jimmy Lai, 9 Others To Be Sentenced For Illegal Assembly

Hong Kong Media tycoon Jimmy Lai and 9 other pro-democracy activists are set to be sentenced after they were found guilty of attending unauthorised assemblies.

Image Credits: Associated Press 

Image Credits: Associated Press 

Hong Kong Media tycoon Jimmy Lai and nine other pro-democracy activists are set to be sentenced on April 14 after they were found guilty of participating in “unauthorized assemblies” during anti-government protests in 2019.  Lai has been in captivity since December 2019 but it would mark the first time since he would be formally sentenced by the city’s judiciary. Speaking to reporters just outside the court, the media mogul said that he was feeling “completely relaxed” and was “ready to face his sentence.”

72-year-old Lai became the face of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests following his undeterred publications against CCP’s draconian measures which also included the infamous National Security Law. In April, Lai was convicted on two separate charges for illegal assemblies on August 18 and August 31 2019. He could now face a prison term of not more than five years.

Lai and others to be sentenced 

Others found guilty in the case include politician and barrister Martin Lee. The 82-year-old was born before Hong Kong became independent from British rule and has been a staunch supporter of democracy. In 1990s, he launched city’s largest opposition- Democratic Party, earning him the moniker of ‘Father of Democracy.’ Others convicted in the case include prominent barrister Margaret Ng and veteran democrats Lee Cheuk-yan, Yeung Sum, Albert Ho, Leung Kwok-hung, Cyd Ho, Au Nok-hin and Leung Yiu-Chung. The latter two had pleaded guilty.

The 2019 pro-democracy protests were spurred by Beijing's tightening squeeze on wide-ranging freedoms which were promised to Hong Kong upon its return to Chinese rule in 1997. Despite increasing western criticisms, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been using carrots and sticks to coerce the city-state into complying to its orders. Lai, the founder of the Apple Daily tabloid, has been a frequent visitor to Washington, meeting top officials such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to rally support for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a "traitor".

Earlier this week, Apple Daily, published a handwritten letter by Lai to his staff wherein he asked them to stand tall. “Freedom of speech is a dangerous job,” he wrote asking journalists to take care of their own safety. However, he also asserted that “upholding justice” was a journalist’s responsibility adding that the situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating.

Image Credits: Associated Press 




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