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Hong Kong Publisher Convicted

1410 Daily Digest

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was convicted of fraud related to lease violations yesterday, in what is seen as the latest prosecution against Lai for his past activism as part of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong (see background). The 74-year-old Lai, founder of the now-shuttered pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, is already serving a 20-month prison sentence for organizing unauthorized assemblies.

Authorities have cracked down on activists under a Beijing-drafted national security law enacted in 2020 (see 101), which criminalized a range of dissent with penalties of up to life in prison following mass pro-democracy protests in 2019.

In the current case, Lai and two former executives at his company, Next Digital, had sublet part of their office space to another firm owned by Lai. The court found the nature of the firm's business violated lease terms with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp., a government corporation.

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