Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, the notorious Hong Kong media tycoon who faces a series of criminal charges including fraud and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security, has applied for bail again after being denied twice. He has applied directly to the High Court, and is scheduled to be heard on December 23, Hong Kong media reported.
Lai was denied bail twice in December. He has been remanded in custody since December 3 and faces further detention until his fraud case is heard in April. Lai was denied bail in his fraud case on December 3, and planned to reapply for bail on Tuesday. However, he was slapped with another charge of colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security on December 12, and was denied bail on the same day.
The lawyer representing Lai has said he will ask for a postponement of the scheduled hearing, hoping that the High Court will deal with the bail applications in both cases together. His bail application hearing is set for next week.
Experts familiar with Hong Kong's judicial affairs said the previous denials of Lai's bail were a legal decision based on Lai's involvement in multiple cases, as there is the risk that he might flee the city, given his connections with foreign countries.
If convicted, Lai could face a sentence of life in prison.