Thursday 3 December 2020 8:54 am

Hong Kong pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai detained following fraud charge

Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy supporter, has been charged with fraud and detained until a court hearing in April next year.

Lai was arrested on Wednesday night along with two other senior executives from media company Next Digital, of which Lai is the founder.

Read more: There can be no ‘new chapter’ with China while Hong Kong’s freedoms are trampled

The three men appeared in court the next day on charges relating to the alleged use of the company’s headquarters for purposes not permitted on its lease. No further details were given, according to the BBC. 

The news comes a day after three prominent pro-democracy activists were jailed.

Beijing enforced new security laws in Hong Kong earlier this year, which made it illegal to criticise the Chinese government and prohibits things like mocking the Chinese national anthem.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab branded them a violation of the British-Sino treaty, which was signed when the region’s handover to China was agreed.

Read more: Tory MPs urge PM to sanction UK banks in Hong Kong for China cooperation

A report from top Tory backbenchers published earlier this week suggested Boris Johnson should threaten to sanction UK financial services firms operating in Hong Kong to push back against Beijing’s draconian security laws.

The report said Johnson should also enact sanctions against UK companies that use forced Chinese labour in their supply chains and freeze the British assets of a swathe of Chinese nationals who have engaged in human rights abuses.