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Hong Kong Media Tycoon and Pro-Democracy Activist Granted Bail

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2020, file photo, Jimmy Lai, center, who founded the Apple Daily tabloid, is escorted by Correctional Services officers to get on a prison van before appearing in a court, in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy advocate Jimmy Lai has been granted bail after nearly three weeks behind bars.

The city’s High Court granted the 73-year-old Lai bail Wednesday after he agreed to put up a $1.2 million bond. He is barred from using Twitter, granting interviews or colluding with foreign forces.

The owner of Next Digital media company was arrested on December 3 and charged with fraud, with prosecutors accusing him of violating terms of the company’s lease of its office space.

Prosecutors have since charged Lai under Hong Kong’s new national security law for “foreign collusion.”
Lai was first arrested under the new law on suspicion of foreign collusion in August. Hours after his arrest, more than 100 police officers raided the headquarters of Next Digital, which publishes the newspaper Apple Day. The newspaper livestreamed the raid on its website, showing officers roaming the newsroom as they rummaged through reporters’ files, while Lai was led through the newsroom in handcuffs.

Lai was eventually released on bail after 40 hours in custody.