Hong Kong sentences Jimmy Lai to more jail time over protests.

Jailed Hong Kong media tycoon and Beijing critic Jimmy Lai was given a new prison sentence of 14 months on Friday over his role in an unauthorised assembly on October 1st, 2019, during one of the city’s pro-democracy rallies that year.

This month Lai – who is already serving sentences adding up to 14 months for participating in similar demonstrations on August 18th and August 31st, 2019 – and nine other activists pleaded guilty in a district court to organising an unauthorised assembly.

Lai has been in jail since December after being denied bail in a separate national security trial. He faces three charges under the new law, introduced by China in 2020 in response to the protests, including collusion with a foreign country.

Lai’s repeated arrests have drawn criticism from western governments and international rights groups, who raised concerns over waning freedoms in the global financial hub, including freedom of speech and assembly.

Beijing sees him as a traitor and an anti-China instigator.

China says the sweeping security law, which punishes anything Beijing considers as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, was vital to restore stability and prosperity.

Judge Amanda Woodcock, who handed Lai his previous illegal assembly sentence in April, delivered the sentence on Friday. She said part of the new sentence would be served consecutively, meaning Lai faces a total of 20 months in prison so far.

There were major clashes on October 1st, China’s national day, including a live round shot by a policeman at a protester swinging a long stick, the first use of a handgun after months of demonstrations.

“They did call for a peaceful, rational and non-violent procession but how naive and unrealistic was that considering what was happening on a daily basis was the opposite,” Judge Woodcock said. “This is not with hindsight. The risk was very real every day at that time.”

Long Hair

The other nine defendants, including activists Figo Chan, Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho and Leung Kwok-hung, who is known in Hong Kong as Long Hair, were sentenced to up to 18 months. Two received suspended sentences.

“Your honour, for over 40 years I have strived for democratic reform in China,” Lee told the court this week during one of the hearings. “This is my unrequited love, the love for my country with such a heavy heart.”

Activist Tsang Kin-shing, present at the court, condemned the “heavy” sentencing received by Long Hair, his colleague in the League of Social Democrats.

“We’re all trapped now in a prison city where freedom of expression is not allowed,” Mr Tsang told Reuters.

The sentence comes two weeks after authorities froze assets belonging to Lai, including bank accounts and his 71.26 per cent stake in media publisher Next Digital.

Hong Kong’s security chief sent letters to Lai and branches of HSBC and Citibank this month threatening up to seven years in prison for any dealings with the billionaire’s accounts in the city, according to documents seen by Reuters.

The moves could imperil any attempt by the democracy activist to move offshore assets back home to prop up Next Digital’s troubled Apple Daily tabloid, a staunch government critic, one of Lai’s financial advisers said. – Reuters

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Tucker: You deserve better

Tucker: You deserve better

'Tucker Carlson Tonight' host highlights a moment from NYC mayoral debate. #FoxNews #Tucker Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering...

Ethiopia: Tigray conflict overshadows Abiy Ahmed's quest for legitimacy - DW News.

Ethiopia: Tigray conflict overshadows Abiy Ahmed's quest for legitimacy - DW News.

Ethiopians are voting in national elections on Monday. It's a day of reckoning for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as he hopes to boost his legitimacy with the vote.At his first and last campaign rally this week, he said his main goal is to uphold what ...

Shocking video shows 2 children caught in the middle of NYC shooting.

Shocking video shows 2 children caught in the middle of NYC shooting.

Disturbing video captured a brazen shooting in New York City. CBS New York reports a gunman appears to ambush his target in the middle of a Bronx street, and two innocent children are caught in the commotion. CBSN is CBS News’ 24/7 digital streami...

Euro 2020: Police arrest 18 people as crowds celebrate Scotland's 0-0 draw with England.

Euro 2020: Police arrest 18 people as crowds celebrate Scotland's 0-0 draw with England.

Police arrested 18 people amid celebrations in central London as Scotland played to a goalless draw against rivals England in a UEFA EURO 2020. Football fans crowded into Leicester Square on Friday (June 18). In the 12th minute at Wembley Stadium,...

House Republicans call to remove Kamala Harris as 'border czar'.

House Republicans call to remove Kamala Harris as 'border czar'.

South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman criticizes Vice President Kamala Harris for failing to visit the border, and the push to remove her as border czar. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News C...

JUNETEENTH: TOGETHER WE TRIUMPH l PART 5 - ABC News.

JUNETEENTH: TOGETHER WE TRIUMPH l PART 5 - ABC News.

H.E.R. performs 'Fight for You': Part 5 "Juneteenth: Together We Triumph -- A Soul of a Nation Special Event" can be seen on demand on the ABC app or on Hulu. #ABCNews #Juneteenth #SoulOfANation