HONG KONG: Pro-democracy Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai was sentenced last Saturday to five years and nine months in prison for fraud, convicted of violating a lease contract for the headquarters of a liberal newspaper he used to run.
Lai, 75, was found guilty of two counts of fraud for covering up the operations of a private company, Dico Consultants Ltd, at the headquarters of the now shuttered Apple Daily newspaper, in what was ruled a breach of its land lease.
Hong Kong’s most prominent China critic, Lai has been behind bars since December 2020 and has served 20 months for unauthorised assemblies.,
He was the head of Next Digital, the parent company of Apple Daily that shut down in June 2021 after a police raid.
Another Next Digital executive, Wong Wai-keung, 61, was found guilty of fraud and jailed for 21 months.
District Court Judge Stanley Chan wrote in a judgement that Lai had “acted under the protective umbrella of a media organisation”. — Reuters
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