December 13, 2020: One of the city’s most prominent supporters of the pro-democracy movement, Mr. Lai, is estimated to be worth more than $1bn (拢766m). Having made his initial fortune in the clothing industry, he later ventured into media and founded Next Digital.
In a local media landscape increasingly fearful of Beijing, Mr. Lai is a persistent thorn for China – both through his publications and writing.
It has seen him become a hero for many residents in Hong Kong, but he is a traitor who threatens Chinese national security on the mainland.
Jimmy Lai has been charged under the territory’s controversial new national security law.
Mr. Lai was accused of conspiring with foreign forces to endanger national security and face a lengthy jail term. He is the most high-profile person charged under the new law.
Mr. Lai founded the Apple Daily newspaper and is a fierce critic of the Beijing authorities.
Beijing has said the new security law would return stability to the territory after a year of unrest, but critics say it has silenced dissent.
Mr. Lai was initially arrested under the law in August after a police raid on Apple Daily’s head office and was released on bail.
However, he has been in custody since December 2, after being denied bail on a separate charge of fraud related to the lease of a building that houses the newspaper.