Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been granted bail, nearly three weeks after he was remanded in custody over fraud and national security-related charges.
Lai, an outspoken advocate for democracy in Hong Kong, had been charged with fraud on December 3 for allegedly violating the lease terms for office space for his media company, Next Digital, and kept behind bars.
He was later charged again on Dec. 12 under the national security law, on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces and endangering national security.
Lai appeared in court Wednesday and was granted bail by the High Court.
Under his bail terms, Lai is not allowed to meet with foreign officials, give any interviews, publish any articles or post on social media, and will have to remain at home and surrender his travel documents.
The tycoon has been a frequent visitor to Washington, meeting with officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to rally support for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a “traitor”.
He is among a recent string of pro-democracy activists and supporters arrested by Hong Kong police in recent months, prompting concerns that Hong Kong is cracking down on dissent following Beijing’s imposition of a national security law on the semi-autonomous Chinese territory in June.
Beijing imposed the national security law in response to protests in Hong Kong that began in June 2019 over a proposed extradition law and expanded to include demands for greater democracy in the former British colony.