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Day 5: January 3, 2024

Ming Pao: Prosecutors say Jimmy Lai try to call on more mass demonstration by ordering interviews with Chris Patten and Lam Wing-kee

“Next Media” founder Jimmy Lai and three related companies of “Apple Daily” have denied colluding with foreign forces and are on trial. The trial entered the fifth day today (January 3). The prosecution continued to read out its opening statement, saying that on the day before the anti-extradition bill demonstration in April 2019, Jimmy Lai invited Benedict Rogers, the founder of “Hong Kong Watch”, to interview former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten at the request of the pan-democrats to “call on more people to take to the streets.” Apple Daily published the interview on the same day. After the anti-extradition movement broke out, Lai instructed Apple Daily to put out seditious publications to encourage mass demonstrations.

Jimmy Lai, who has been remanded in custody for more than 1,000 days, was escorted to the court in a prison car this morning. He wore a dark blue jacket to the trial, smiled and nodded and waved to relatives and friends, and seemed to be in good spirits.

Anthony Chau Tin Hang, deputy director of public prosecutions, continued to read out the opening statement, describing that Jimmy Lai, on April 26, 2019, instructed then-Apple CEO Cheung Kim-hung via WhatsApp to visit Lam Wing-kee of Causeway Bay Bookstore to “encourage the public to participate in the march the following day.” The next day, Apple published a front-page report on Lam’s interview, quoting Lam’s call to “protect Hong Kong and take to the streets tomorrow.”

On April 27, Jimmy Lai instructed Cheung Kim-hung via WhatsApp to “think of other ways to call on people to participate in anti-extradition demonstrations” and forwarded the message he sent to Benedict Rogers to Cheung, quoting that “the pan-democrats would like to ask you for a favor” to interview Patten, and call for more people to take to the streets. Apple Daily published the interview in the breaking news section the same day. The newspapers also reported on the interview the next day. After the anti-extradition bill movement broke out, Apple Daily, under Jimmy Lai’s instructions, published 31 seditious publications from June 2019 to January of the following year, including the articles “From Peace to Bravery – It is the Regime that Forces Me to Evolve” and “Dragon Slaying Brigade Calling from the Edge – We Should All be Brave and Go on Strikes,” swaying public opinion, inciting hatred against the government and the police, encouraging people to take to the streets, and advocating violent demonstrations.

They also reported on the crowdfunding campaign “Lam Chau Ba” (攬炒巴) and published advertisements to promote “lam chau” (burnism)1, inciting rebellion against the central government. Within the campaign, Jimmy Lai wrote four seditious articles, including one titled “Only If We Persevere Will We Have Hope.

The prosecution submitted Jimmy Lai’s communication records, which showed that on June 10, 2019, he told Chan Pui-man that the temporary suspension of the legislative amendment was only a government tactic and that citizens should continue to demonstrate. Apple Daily published an article 5 days later titled “The evil law is only suspended and not withdrawn on the eve of the demonstration. It’s Carrie Lam’s delaying tactic. We will march as usual tomorrow.” On July 2, Lai instructed Chan to publish a report on the conflict in the Legislative Council to gain public support and sympathy for young people; on July 19, Lai forwarded Rogers’ message to Chan, citing US Congressman Ted Yoho’s op-ed for Apple Daily.

1 – A Hong Kong term referring to a concept of mutual assured destruction. The term was picked up by the 2019–2020 Hong Kong protesters as a doctrine against the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). (

Ming Pao

The Witness: Live updates – Day 5 of Jimmy Lai’s trial
Prosecutors: Lai ordered the interview of Chris Patten in order to encourage people to take to the street

Next Media founder Jimmy Lai and three companies related to “Apple Daily” were charged with “conspiracy to collude with foreign forces” and other crimes. The case was heard on the fifth day of the trial at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts (Provisional High Court) on Wednesday (January 3), the prosecution continued to read out the opening statement.

The prosecution pointed out that in addition to instructing Cheung Kim0hung to interview Lam Wing-kee, which had the effect of calling on the masses to demonstrate, Jimmy Lai also used Benedict Rogers, the founder of the human rights organization “Hong Kong Watch”, to contact former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten to comment on the “Fugitive Offenders Ordinance”. Patten’s report was published on April 28.

The prosecution also pointed out that Apple Daily continued to publish seditious publications in an attempt to sway public opinion after the government withdrew the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. Relevant articles are directed at the central government, the Hong Kong government, and the entire regime. For example, some articles attempt to share the experiences of other demonstrators, claiming that peaceful demonstrators have become radicalized due to coercion by the regime, and advocating public hatred for the regime.

14:30 Jimmy Lai put out the English version of “Apple” and instructed colleagues not to target
Instructs colleagues not to target Donald Trump

The prosecution mentioned that in May 2020, there were voices in society saying that the National Security Law would be implemented in Hong Kong. In this regard, Lai instructed the top management of “Apple Daily” to launch an English version of the newspaper to push for foreign countries to impose sanctions on China and Hong Kong. On April 17 of the same year, Christian Whiton, then senior adviser to the U.S. State Department, sent an email suggesting that Apple Daily publish English news, saying that American readers would be politically and financially helpful to Lai, and that U.S. politicians were interested in meeting Lai. Lai then set up a WhatsApp group, with members including Cheung Kim-hung, Chan Pui-man, Law Wai-kong, Lam Man-chung, Fung Wai-kong and Cheung Chi-wai, to discuss the operation of the English news production. Among them, Lai stated that he planned to garner subscriptions from foreign readers to gain their support.

Lai also told Mark Simon that English news would help them win over foreigners to support Hong Kong. The two discussed how to obtain subscriptions from foreign politicians and promote “Apple Daily”. Li also instructed Cheung Kim-hung that the English news site should include current affairs news in Taiwan to attract the attention of the United States.

The prosecution pointed out that Lai made another video to promote the English version of “Apple Daily” and instructed Mark Simon to continue to contact the editor of the “Wall Street Journal” to invite former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten to be in the video to promote “Apple Daily”. Later, he was informed that Patten agreed to be part of the video for “Apple Daily”. As of June 2020, the front page of “Apple Daily” promoted its English version, with the slogan “an Apple a day keeps the fake news away!”, indicating its intention to “expand its international outreach.” Lai also instructed Cheung Kim-hung via WhatsApp, “Please ask colleagues in the international team not to target Trump like the New York Times and CNN. It’s not good when we at Apple Daily have to rely on the support of the Trump administration to stay alive.”

12:40 The prosecution accuses Lai of following political figures from many countries on Twitter Judge Alex Lee Wan Tang questioned the purpose of this (showing Lai’s follows on Twitter)

The prosecution pointed out that Jimmy Lai opened Twitter (now known as X) accounts at the recommendation of Mark Simon in May 2020. These accounts are often tagged as Apple Daily news content. Most of the accounts contain content in English, and they also posted hashtags of political figures from Britain, the United States, and Taiwan. The prosecution continued that Lai’s account is currently following 53 people. Prosecutors presented these people one by one in court, including then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, and British Conservative Party Human Rights Commission member Luke de Pulford. , then-U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Benedict Rogers, the “Fight for Freedom, Stand With Hong Kong” team, and Joey Siu, who has been put on the wanted list by the Department of National Security earlier.

Judge Alex Lee interrupted and asked, “What is the purpose of the prosecution continuing to show the people that Lai is following?” The prosecutor Anthony Chau Tin Hang replied that it could show the connection between Lai and others. Judge Lee pointed out that the word “connection” has a broad meaning and asked what the prosecution is referring to. The prosecutor further explained that it shows Lai’s “state of mind” and that Lai was aware of what happened at that time. Judge questioned such a statement and said it could only show that Lai is interested in international affairs. The prosecutors repeated that [judging by the accounts Lai is following,] it could prove that Lai was aware of the Twitter content.

11:18 adjournment

11:15 Prosecution: Apple Daily continued to publish seditious publications despite the pandemic

The prosecution mentioned that at the end of January 2020, the new coronavirus pneumonia affected Hong Kong, and “Apple Daily” continued to publish seditious publications during the pandemic. Prosecutors once again mentioned Jimmy Lai’s column “Success and Failure with a Smile” article, and articles such as “The Wuhan Plague: The Death Knell of the Chinese Communist Party”:

“Under the CCP’s premise of maintaining stability during the pneumonia epidemic, lies are rampant and the truth is blurred… It is difficult to convince the public by governing the country with lies and without integrity. Emperor Xi relies on totalitarian control and absolutely stifles the people’s freedom of information.”

Another column article “Despite the suppression of despotism, our courage will never die” mentioned:

“After the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic caused deaths and economic collapse, various countries, especially the United States, blamed China and imposed partial sanctions, forcing the CCP not to be too blatant.”

The prosecution also pointed out that “Apple Daily” has caused citizens to hate the police. For example, the report “[Police] Planned to Use Anti-Terrorism Ordinance to Control Explosives Cases: Chris Tang is taking lessons from Xinjiang to Suppress Protests with an Iron Fist” published in March 2020. The article compares Hong Kong with Xinjiang:

“Attempts to “Xinjiangize” Hong Kong will not only fail, but will lead to quicker international sanctions, such as the US’s Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.”

10:45 Prosecution: Jimmy Lai’s column seeks international support and calls on the public to continue to fight

The prosecution pointed out that one of the articles in the column “Success and Failure is a Smile” written by Jimmy Lai was titled “Only if we persevere can we have hope”, which mentioned:

“Although our movement against authorities suffered heavy casualties, we successfully blocked the extradition bill and united the Hong Kong people in their determination to protect their homeland. We won the support of the countries and people of the free world, led by the United States. The U.S. government passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act “, and the recent overwhelming victory in the district council elections, as long as we persist and not lose faith, it is absolutely possible to finally win back the right to universal suffrage given to us by the Basic Law.”

The prosecution pointed out that the content seeks international support to win universal suffrage and that the public should continue to fight.

Jimmy Lai was also accused of publishing a column titled “To fight totalitarianism, Taiwan has nothing to fear” in December 2019. In the article, Lai compared the situations in Hong Kong and Taiwan, saying that Taiwan has stronger forces to fight against the CCP. He also accused the CCP of using economic control over Hong Kong as a “totalitarian machine.” As mentioned in “In the Chinese Communist Party’s dictionary, people do not have freedom, rule of law, human rights and dignity”:

“In the CCP’s world of thinking where money is everything, freedom is like dirt and people are just screws in the totalitarian machine. In the end, it will only make them feel ashamed in this era of open information.”

10:30 Prosecution: Apple Daily continues to publish seditious articles advocating public hatred against authorities

The prosecution continued that the large-scale demonstrations that occurred on June 9, 2019, symbolized the beginning of instability in the entire society. Even though the government has subsequently suspended and withdrawn the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, demonstrators continue to engage in illegal acts of violence and commit riots and other crimes, and police must enforce the law to maintain order. And “Apple Daily” continued to publish seditious publications in an attempt to sway public opinion. Relevant articles target the central government and the Hong Kong government, not only about the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, but also the entire regime. For example, the article “From Peace to Bravery – It is the Regime that Forces Me to Evolve”” tried to encourage the public to hate the regime by sharing the experiences of other demonstrators, claiming that peaceful demonstrators became radicalized because of the regime’s coercion.

“As early as June when the anti-extradition movement just started, Mr. Li (pseudonym) and Ms. Chen (pseudonym) had already participated in it. They both said that they were believers in peaceful protests. After a hundred days, they have become brave frontline warriors, and even accepting the possibility that there may be human casualties in the fight. This change was not voluntary but was forced by the government.”

In the article “Worldwide Sanctions Rally, Today’s Tensions Are Going to Explode,” the prosecution pointed out that the content encouraged readers to take to the streets to demonstrate, including details such as the time and location of the demonstration. In addition to encouraging public demonstrations, there are even articles that encourage readers to engage in violent behavior, including the article “Social Topics: Our Brothers and Sisters Can Only Be Saved By Us”, which advises demonstrators to rescue arrested demonstrators from the hands of the police, calling for both peaceful and valiant demonstrators to cooperate, each performing their duties.

“Both ‘peaceful and valiant’ performed their duties: from [making] signs to those at the demonstration site: volunteer first aiders, smoke extinguisher teams, fire magicians, etc. There were even situations of “protesters saving protesters,” and “fighting back” (鶳).
The demonstration in Mong Kok on Sunday where a clip of a man flying in the air, kicking a police officer and rescuing his fellow protesters was even regarded as “teaching material” by netizens.”

The prosecution also pointed out that “Apple Daily” published a report in August 2019 titled “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” (攬炒巴)x G20 team crowdfunded 14 million to publish ads on 13 countries’ newspaper revealing police brutality“, encouraging the public to use illegal means to resist and “lam chau” (bring mutual assured destruction) (攬炒) and fight against the regime .

10:20 Prosecution: Lai wanted to contact Patten for an interview through Benedict Rogers to encourage more people to participate in the demonstration

The prosecutors mentioned on Tuesday (2nd) the instructions given by Lai to senior staff. On April 27, 2019, Lai instructed Cheung Kim-hung to interview Lam Wing-kee, the manager of Causeway Bay Bookstore. The next day, Apple published “Extradition Bill that Kills and Bury You. Lam Wing-kee’s exile to Taiwan and his farewell call to protect Hong Kong and take to the streets tomorrow,” calling on the masses to participate in demonstrations.

The prosecution continued on Wednesday (3rd) that in addition to instructing Cheung to interview Lam Wing-kee, which had the effect of calling on the masses to demonstrate, Jimmy Lai also instructed him to come up with other feasible methods to call on more people to protest against the “Fugitive Offenders Ordinance”. Lai once sent Cheung the messages between himself and Benedict Rogers, the founder of the human rights organization “Hong Kong Watch”. Lai said he was asking Rogers to contact former Hong Kong Governor Patten to comment on the “Fugitive Offenders Ordinance”. In the end, Patten’s story was published on April 28.

In the court, prosecutors showed a WhatsApp conversation forwarded by Jimmy Lai to Cheung. Lai said: “Dear Ben, Tomorrow we’ve anti-fugitive law demonstration. Want to push more people to join. Pan Democrat would like to ask you for a favor, a too -late and unreasonable request. They ask whether you can interview Chris Patten for us to talk about this anti-fugitive Law today?”

10:11 Court started

10:04 Jimmy Lai entered the court
Jimmy Lai walked into the defendant’s dock wearing a blue and black shirt. He kept looking at his relatives and friends in the public gallery and smiled.

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