Jimmy Lai was one of many activists who appeared in court on Friday. Mr Lai was sentenced to 14 months in prison while none others received jail time or suspended sentences. Mr Lai, 73, has been in jail since December after being denied bail in a separate trial. Mr Lai’s repeated arrests have drawn much criticism from western countries watching the situation unfold in Hong Kong, some of which have openly drawn concerns over waning freedoms in the former British colony and buzzing financial hub.
Who is Jimmy Lai?
Jimmy Lai, or his Chinese name Lai Chee-Ying, is an entrepreneur from Hong Kong.
The billionaire has owned a number of listed companies, but most notably he’s a media mogul and heads pro-democracy opposition newspaper, Apple Daily.
Mr Lai was arrested over his connections to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that took place in 2019.
Read More: China news: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested amid new law
Earlier this week, Apple Daily published a hand-written letter Mr Lai sent to his colleagues from prison, saying: “It is our responsibility as journalists to seek justice.
“As long as we do not let evil get its way through us, we are fulfilling our responsibility.”
The other defendants in the August 18 case, also found guilty, included prominent barrister Margaret Ng and veteran democrats Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho, Leung Kwok-hung, Cyd Ho, Auk Nok-hin and Leung You-chung.
They received sentences of up to 18 months, while Ms Ng was given a suspended sentence.
During her mitigation speech, Ms Ng said the law must not only be defended in courts or the legislature, but also in the streets.
She said: “When the people, in the last resort, had to give collective expression to their anguish and urge the government to respond, protected only by their expectation that the government will respect their rights, I must be prepared to stand with them, stand by them and stand up for them.”