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Hong Kong mogul and activist Jimmy Lai indicted under new national security law

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Hong Kong mogul and activist Jimmy Lai charged under new national security law
© REUTERS / Athit Perawongmetha

Hong Kong businessman and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai has been charged under the new national security law, RTHK reported, citing police.

Lai, 73, will appear before a judge on Saturday morning. The businessman, who owns the Apple Daily newspaper and the Next Digital media group, is the fourth person, and the one with the highest profile so far, to face charges under the controversial regulations.

The mogul remains in custody after he was denied bail in early December in an alleged fraud case related to the lease of Next Digital’s headquarters.

The new national security law for Hong Kong, approved in Beijing at the end of last June, criminalizes acts of subversion, terrorism, secession, conspiracy with foreign influence and others that threaten the security of the territory.

Opponents of the law in Hong Kong and the West attribute it to Beijing’s desire to tighten control over the autonomous region.

China rejects any criticism of the new security law and maintains that Hong Kong issues are its internal business.