Earlier this week prominent Catholic millionaire and media tycoon Jimmy Lai was arrested in Hong Kong along with two of his sons and two executives of his Next Media company on charges of collusion with foreign forces and conspiracy to defraud under China’s new national security law.
The three were released on bail late Tuesday night and Lai was cheered as he walked into the offices of his Apple Daily paper. However, if he is eventually charged and convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison, or could even life if it is determined that he had committed a crime “of grave nature.”
Lai, 72, made his initial fortune through the fashion chain Giordano before investing his money into media organizations, Next Media and Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s most notorious anti-Beijing paper.
A Catholic, Lai is also a known supporter of prominent Catholic personalities in Hong Kong who have been outspoken in criticizing China over the new law, which went into effect June 30, as well as human rights abuses and limits to religious freedom, prompting speculation that these people could be next on Beijing’s blacklist.
One of the prominent figures Lai has supported is Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, who has openly criticized China on several fronts and has also vocally opposed Pope Francis’s approach to China, most notably over a 2018 agreement on the appointment of bishops, the renewal of which is currently under negotiation.
Read more at Crux