Outspoken Hong Kong billionaire Jimmy Lai sentenced to 14 months in prison for taking part in pro-democracy protests

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Sinéad Baker
·2 min read
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Jimmy Lai
Jimmy Lai being arrested at his Hong Kong home in August 2020. VERNON YUEN/AFP via Getty Images
  • Jimmy Lai was sentenced to 14 months in prison over his role in 2019 Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.

  • The media tycoon has been a target in China's crackdown against Hong Kong's democracy movement.

  • He was separately arrested under China's national security law in August.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Hong Kong billionaire media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to a total of 14 months in prison for his role in 2019 pro-democracy protests in the city.

He was found guilty of unauthorized assembly on Friday, alongside several pro-democracy activists and lawmakers.

Lai, the founder of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper, has long been a target in China's crackdown against Hong Kong's democracy movement.

He was found guilty in two separate trials for protests that took place on August 18 and August 31, 2019. He was given a 15-month sentence for the first event, which was reduced by three months, and an eight-month sentence for the second. That means he was sentenced to 14 months in total.

Lai was already remanded in jail when the Friday sentence was handed down after being separately charged under China's national security law last August.

Earlier this week Apple Daily published a handwritten letter that was sent from Lai from prison.

It said: "It is our responsibility as journalists to seek justice. As long as we are not blinded by unjust temptations, as long as we do not let evil get its way through us, we are fulfilling our responsibility."

Among those sentenced on Friday was Martin Lee, the founder of Hong Kong's Democratic Party. Lee was given a jail sentence of 11 months, which was suspended for 24 months.

China imposed the national security law on Hong Kong last June. It allows the Chinese government to set up a formal police presence in the city, and experts say it effectively ends the city's democratic freedoms and political autonomy from the mainland.

Lai had predicted that he would be arrested under that law, writing for The New York Times in May: "I have feared that one day the Chinese Communist Party would grow tired not only of Hong Kong's free press but also of its free people. That day has come."

Read the original article on Business Insider