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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai’s defence to present ‘no case to answer’ in July trial

Hong Kong prosecutors on 11 June wrapped up evidence against Jimmy Lai in a pivotal national security trial. The defence plans to assert his innocence when the trial resumes in late July. Lai, founder of now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper, faces potential life imprisonment on charges related to colluding with foreign forces and publishing seditious materials.



HONG KONG: Hong Kong prosecutors have concluded their presentation of evidence against pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai in a landmark national security trial.

The trial will resume in late July, with the defence set to argue that Lai has “no case to answer.”

According to details posted on a website dedicated to supporting Jimmy Lai, lead prosecutor Anthony Chau apprised a panel of three judges, specially appointed for the case, on Tuesday (11 June) that the prosecution had formally concluded its evidence presentation to establish the culpability of the 76-year-old media magnate.

Lai, the founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper, faces potential life imprisonment over two charges: participating in a “conspiracy to collude with foreign forces” under Beijing-imposed national security legislation and conspiring to publish “seditious” materials under a colonial-era law.

He was charged alongside former employees and three companies associated with the newspaper.

Tuesday marked the 90th day of the closely watched trial, originally slated for 80 days.

Lai, who has been unwell, was not present during the hearing.

Judge Esther Toh read a letter from his lawyers requesting the continuation of the hearing and Lai’s excuse, stating it was a “voluntary” decision and that his absence would not prejudice him. Toh granted permission, noting that Lai was fully represented by his legal team.

Chau also submitted revised translations – as the trial is conducted in English – and a glossary related to the exhibits. Lai’s lawyer, Steven Kwan, applied for earlier-presented evidence from his team to be officially marked as defense exhibits.

“Having addressed all matters, we formally conclude the prosecution’s case,” Chau stated.

Toh, along with fellow national security judges Susana Maria D’Almada Remedios and Alex Lee, will reconvene on 24 July to hear arguments from the defence.

Lai’s team plans to present a “no case to answer” argument, contending that the prosecution’s evidence is insufficient for conviction.

In June 2020, Beijing integrated national security legislation directly into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, in response to a year of pro-democracy protests and turmoil.

This legislation criminalized activities such as subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces, and terrorist acts, with broad definitions that encompassed disruptions to transportation and other infrastructure.

The implementation of this legislation granted law enforcement extensive new powers and resulted in numerous arrests, along with the disappearance of dozens of civil society groups.

Hong Kong’s press freedom under scrutiny

While authorities argue that this move restored stability and peace to the city, criticism has been voiced by trade partners, the UN, and various non-governmental organizations.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in April refuted China’s claim that Hong Kong’s press freedom is “fully protected,” detailing the detention of journalists, media shutdowns, and legal threats that depict a stark decline in media liberty.

Hong Kong’s ranking near the bottom of global press freedom indices underscores the challenges faced by journalists in the region.

RSF continues to call on international democracies to pressure China and Hong Kong to restore true press freedom and protect journalistic integrity in the territory.


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Wish he last longer than Xi JP – then watch who sets who free, esp when communism can be brought down. East Berlin Wall broken down, Bonn triumphed over Belin. Who knows Taipei can turned up the heat – didn’t Xi always claimed they nvr interfere in how other countries run their affairs, why turn his attn towards Taiwan. Clearly he’s out to prove his reign to the Chinese people when he subdued Taiwan. Don’t underestimate the Taiwanese people’s resolve when China is the aggressor. With Western support Putin cannot even grind out significant victories over Kiev. And Putin has… Read more »