PanamaTimes

Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024

China and US clash again after Jimmy Lai convicted of fraud by Hong Kong court

China and US clash again after Jimmy Lai convicted of fraud by Hong Kong court

US State Department spokesman calls verdict ‘grossly unjust outcome’ and asks central government to respect ‘freedom of expression’.

Beijing has hit out at the United States for its attempt to “whitewash criminals” after Washington politicians condemned the “grossly unjust outcome” of Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s latest trial, where the media tycoon was jailed for almost six years for fraud offences.

The latest war of words between the two countries was sparked by US Department of State spokesman Ned Price, who on Sunday appealed to the central government to respect freedom of expression, including for the press, in Hong Kong in the wake of Lai’s conviction on two charges of fraud.

“The United States condemns the grossly unjust outcome of Jimmy Lai’s latest trial sentencing,” Price wrote on Twitter. “By any objective measure, this result is neither fair nor just.”


US State Department spokesman Ned Price.

But Beijing’s foreign affairs office in Hong Kong hit back and said it strongly disapproved and firmly rejected “irresponsible comments” on the Lai case made by Price and a few US congressmen.

The office spokesman said Hongkongers’ rights were fully protected, but insisted rights and freedoms could not be used as an “immunity passport for lawbreakers, or a privilege for anti-China forces”.

“In Jimmy Lai’s fraud case, the evidence is clear, the procedure is law-based, and the judgment is open and transparent. The trial by the special administrative region court is totally legitimate and lawful and it brooks no interference or reproach,” he said.

Beijing’s office in the city also slammed Washington for accusing it of not respecting the freedom of the press “just because the case involves an anti-China criminal”.

The spokesman claimed America’s actions had exposed to the world Lai’s identity “as an agent and a pawn of the US”.

“The US often claims to stand up for fairness, justice and the rule of law, but it repeatedly sugarcoats criminals as ‘human rights pioneers’, smears the fair trial of [Hong Kong] courts,” he said.

He added Washington should stop its efforts to “whitewash criminals”.

Hong Kong weighed in to support of the central government and a spokesman for the city administration condemned Washington for ignoring the facts of the case to make “inaccurate and misleading” statements which also interfered with a fair trial.

He said it was unfair to the prosecution and the defence to politicise the proceedings, a fraud case that had “nothing to do with freedom of the press and speech”.

Lai was jailed for 5 years and nine months and fined HK$2 million (US$256,850) on Saturday for a breach of land lease terms by the “deliberate concealment” of a consultancy firm based at the offices of his now-closed Apple Daily newspaper.

The court convicted Lai – alongside Wong Wai-keung, the chief administrative officer at the paper’s parent company Next Digital – after they failed to disclose Dico Consultants’ operations to the landlord, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation.

The corporation prohibited the use of the offices for anything other than publication and related services.

The court ruled that Lai and Wong’s actions amounted to deliberate concealment and a fraudulent act that went beyond what would typically be a breach of contract and a civil matter.

Lai was found guilty of two fraud charges for allowing the Dico to operate from the newspaper’s headquarters in Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate for more than two decades.

Wong, convicted on one fraud charge for his role, was jailed for 21 months.

Lai was sentenced last year to a total of 20 months in prison for his involvement in four unauthorised assemblies.

Despite completing the sentence, Lai, is still remanded in custody for a High Court trial without a jury over allegations of collusion with foreign forces.

The case, however, has been indefinitely postponed for a decision by Beijing on whether Lai can be represented by a London-based barrister.

Apple Daily closed after a crackdown under the Beijing-imposed national security law in June last year.

Comments

Brad 1 year ago
US Government is such a group of mafia kingpin thieves, crooks, conmen, bank robbers, and fraudsters and homos

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×