Hong Kong added a colonial-era sedition charge to Jimmy Lai’s mounting list of prosecutions, as the government’s crackdown on dissent zeros in on the former media mogul.
The jailed tycoon and six former employees of his flagship Apple Daily newspaper were charged with conspiracy to produce and distribute seditious publications under the Crimes Ordinance in West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court.
Prosecutors also applied to level that charge against three Apple Daily companies.
Lai, whose now defunct newspaper was a rallying force in the 2019 anti-government unrest, is serving 20 months in jail for his participation in that movement and his role in banned Tiananmen Square vigils last year. He also faces charges carrying sentences as long as life in prison under the national security law that Beijing imposed last year.
Prosecutors amended Lai’s security law charge of colluding with a foreign country or external force to endanger national security to name six Apple Daily staffers, and the three related companies. The individuals cited were Cheung Kim-hung, Chan Pui-man, Law Wai-kwong, Lam Man-chung, Fung Wai-kong and Yeung Ching-kee.
The updated charge also said Lai, with the others, had requested a foreign country or organisation outside China to impose sanctions or a blockade on Hong Kong.