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Day 6: January 4, 2024

Ming Pao: Jimmy Lai trial | Prosecution: Jimmy Lai gave the instruction to translate articles about sanctions into English in order to attract foreign intervention. The messages from prison show that he was still leading Apple Daily [after arrest]

The case of “Next Media” founder Jimmy Lai and three companies of “Apple Daily” involving conspiracy to collude with foreign forces entered the sixth day of trial in the High Court today (January 4). The prosecution alleged that Jimmy Lai continued to direct Apple Daily’s operations after his arrest; the police seized Yeung Ching-kee’s phone and found a group called the “National Security Law Response Committee”, whose members included 6 arrested senior executives or columnists, as well as Cheung Chi-wai and Apple Daily’s deputy chief editor Jeung Mai-hung (蔣美紅), who have not been charged. As some of the members were subsequently arrested, Lam Man-chung removed Cheung and Jeung from the group.

The prosecution continued to read out the opening statement, saying that Apple Daily continued to serve as a platform for publishing seditious publications, publishing 85 seditious publications from July 1, 2020, after the implementation of the National Security Law, to June 24, 2021, before the newspaper’s closure. Among them, 31 publications sought foreign sanctions. Jimmy Lai instructed some publications to be translated into English to request intervention from the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, Germany, Taiwan and other regions. He also wrote articles himself, such as “There is a kind of boomerang…that stabs into the heart”, “Continue to suppress Hong Kong or serve the country with one’s own body?”..etc.

After the implementation of the national security law, Lai continued to post on Twitter (now known as X). Prosecutors mentioned that then U.S. President Donald Trump described him as “a brave man” and replied with “#StandWithHongKong”.

The prosecution also pointed out that Jimmy Lai was remanded in custody in December 2020, during which Cheung Kim-hung, Ryan Law Wai-kwong, Fung Wai-kong, Chen Pui-man and Cheung Chi-wai all visited him in prison. Even after Lai was arrested, Apple Daily continued to publish publications with seditious and collusion elements. In June 2021, The “Message from Jimmy Lai in Prison: Don’t be Afraid” published on September 19th reflects that Lai continues to direct Apple Daily’s operations. Judge Alex Lee Wan Tang asked which arrest the prosecutor was referring to. The prosecutor said he would have to take time to review the information. Judge Lee then told the prosecutor, “I thought when you wrote the opening statement, you would have thought about why you wanted to write this and prepared the relevant information.”

Apple executives have been arrested one after another since June 2021. The police seized Yeung Ching-kee’s phone, which contained WhatsApp and Signal messages from the “National Security Law Response Committee” from January 4 to June 17, 2021. On June 17, Lam Man-chung, who had not been arrested at the time, removed some members from the groups. Yeung’s computer also contains a document titled “Apple Daily Arrests. Slight Change of Direction.” As for Chan Puiman’s message records, they showed that she had contacted Mark Simon, Hong Kong Watch’s Benedict Rogers and Aileen Calverley.

Ming Pao

The Witness: Live Updates | Jimmy Lai’s Trial Day 6: Prosecutors: Apple Daily continued to publish seditious articles after Lai’s arrest

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 held at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court (provisional High Court) on Thursday (January 4) for the sixth day. During the trial, the prosecution continued to read out its opening statement.

The prosecution mentioned that Lai once described President Xi Jinping as an “absolute dictator in human history” on his talk show “Live Chat with Jimmy Lai” and also accused China of concealing the COVID-19 epidemic and bringing disaster to the world. He also said that the Biden Administration of the United States needs to realize that dealing with the CCP requires strength, not weakness.

The prosecution also mentioned that after Jimmy Lai was arrested, Apple Daily executives Cheung Kim-hung, Chan Pui-man, Ryan Law Wai-kwong continued to be responsible for the daily operations of Apple Daily, and the newspaper continued to publish articles such as “I will choose this road even if I have to go to prison” (坐監都揀呢條路) and “Handcuffs won’t humiliate me” (手銬不能侮辱我), and some interview clips. These can be viewed as Lai’s determination to carry out his plans.

15:30 The prosecution completed its opening statement

The case was adjourned to next Monday (January 8) for further hearing, and the court is expected to deal with “admitted facts”

14:33 Court began

12:50 adjournment

12:30 Prosecution: Andy Li and Chan Tsz-wah organized 3 crowdfunding promotional activities

The prosecution continued to allege that between June and August 2019, Andy Li organized three newspaper advertising operations, publishing promotional advertisements in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Taiwan and many European countries. When the Chinese-language advertisement “Stand with Hong Kong until Dawn” was published in Canada’s “Globe and Mail”, it requested the Canadian government to exert diplomatic pressure on the Hong Kong government and Beijing, implement sanctions, and ban arms exports. The promotional advertisement “Catch Hong Kong As We Fall” was also published in the New York Times of the United States. The content urged the US government to stop exporting weapons to the Hong Kong police and seek support from the US Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Chan Tsz-wah and Andy Li organized a total of 3 crowdfunding activities to pay for advertising expenses.

The prosecution said Lai provided funds for the global newspaper operation through Mark Simon. In addition to the newspaper campaign, the “Stand With Hong Kong Fight For Freedom” team (重光團隊) also conducted other lobbying operations, including inviting British Conservative MP Bob Seely to Hong Kong to observe the demonstrations.

12:00 Prosecution: Lai met with Chan Tsz-wah to advocate protesters to use moderate measures to gain international support

The prosecution alleged that Jimmy Lai, Chan Tsz-wah, Andy Li and others used different methods to endanger national security, including crowdfunding and advertising in global newspapers, establishing international contacts, cooperating with foreign countries to endanger national security, managing the “Stand With Hong Kong Team. Fight For Freedom” team (SWHK)(重光團隊), publishing articles and sanctions reports, etc. In July 2019, Chan Tsz-wah and Jimmy Lai met for the first time in a restaurant, and Martin Lee also attended the dinner. Lai instructed Chan to contact him through Mark Simon, and to tell other radical demonstrators that they should use milder means of demonstration to gain international support.

Lai met with Chan, Finn Lau, and a female protester in Taiwan in January 2020. Everyone met at Lai’s residence in Taipei. Lai explained to everyone his political philosophy “The Collapse of China” (支爆理論) (believing that when China’s economy collapses, it will intensify and deepen social conflicts, and ultimately leading to the collapse of the CCP) and planned to conduct international lobbying in four stages. First, let foreign countries understand the current situation in Hong Kong, then attract the attention of foreign politicians to condemn the Hong Kong government; then meet with foreign politicians to convey their ideas to Hong Kong; and finally meet with foreign politicians to influence foreign governments and urge them to take sanctions against China and Hong Kong.

Later, Lee Wing-tat and Albert Ho also attended the dinner. Lai also arranged for Chan, Lau and the female demonstrator to meet with Taiwanese politician Shih Ming-teh in Taiwan.

11:50 The prosecution accuses Chan Tsz-wah of being a middleman for Lai and supporting Andy Li’s global newspaper campaign

The prosecution began to present its case on national security crimes involving the “Lam Chau Team.” (攬炒團隊) The prosecution alleged that Lai conspired with Andy Li, Chan Tsz-wah, Finn Lau, Luke de Pulford, a researcher at the British human rights organization “Hong Kong Watch”, and Japanese House of Representatives member Shiori Yamao to request the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and Europe and other countries to sanction the CCP and take hostile measures. They used the SWHK as a platform.

In June 2019, as demonstrations related to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance continued, Chan Tsz-wah learned on Telegram that someone planned to obtain financial support from Jimmy Lai and conduct a “global newspaper campaign” to request foreign countries to exert political pressure on the Chinese and Hong Kong governments. Thereafter, Chan Tsz-wah tried to contact Jimmy Lai through Martin Lee, and was able to reach Lai’s assistant Mark Simon.

Simon said that Lai supports international publicity actions and will set aside 5 million dollars to assist in promotion. Chan Tsz-wah then contacted Andy Li, one of the members of the Telegram group. Chan claimed to be Lai’s intermediary and helped Li organize a global newspaper operation. Li then joined the “Lam Chau team”, one of whose core members was Finn Lau. Li and Lau were responsible for organizing the operation and receiving instructions from Jimmy Lai conveyed by Chan Tsz-wah. In August 2019, the website of “SWHK” was established along with its Facebook and Twitter accounts. “SWHK” requested foreign countries to impose sanctions on China and Hong Kong and intervene in the police’s violent suppression of demonstrations.

11:15 adjournment

11:10 Prosecution: “Apple Daily” employees set up the “National Security Law Response Committee” message group

When the police searched for evidence, they found that Yeung Ching-kee’s phone had a WhatsApp and Signal group named “National Security Law Response Committee.” Yeung’s computer contained a document titled “Apple Daily Arrests. Slight Change of Direction,” which mentioned some changes in Apple’s editorial policy.

Chan Pui-man’s phone showed that she was in contact with Mark Simon, Benedict Rogers and Aileen Calverley of the human rights organization “Hong Kong Watch”.

11:00 Prosecution: Lai’s Twitter says young protesters will not give up even if they are persecuted

The prosecution pointed out that in November 2020, Jimmy Lai posted on Twitter, stating, “Young generation of fighters will not give up their fight, even threatened by arbitrary persecution… Young is glorious!”

On December 1, Jimmy Lai once again accepted a video interview with the US Fox Business Network, mentioned his views on the US intervention in Hong Kong’s situation, and expressed the hope that the Biden administration will make human rights and the rule of law a prerequisite for negotiations with China.

10:50 Prosecution: Lai asked the US to rescue Andy Li and other “12 Hong Kong people” on Twitter

The prosecution pointed out that even though Jimmy Lai knew about the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, he still insisted on publishing content on Twitter and Apple Daily, and accepted interviews from other media, making malicious and unfounded remarks about China, the Hong Kong government and the National Security Law, such as claiming that the National Security Law is a “harsh law” that’s being used as a tool of repression, and that Hong Kong is a “police state.” He continued to demand foreign countries to impose sanctions on China and Hong Kong.

On July 1, 2020, the day after the National Security Law was implemented, Jimmy Lai accepted an interview with the American Fox Business Network. The interview was titled “Hong Kong might not be a financial hub anymore.” Relevant clips were played in court. Lai mentioned that he would stay in Hong Kong until the last day and said that if he was afraid, he would not be able to do anything.

On the 15th of the same month, Jimmy Lai tagged the then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the official account of the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao on his Twitter account, and posted a link to Pompeo’s statement congratulating the democratic Legislative Council on the successful primary election. On August 21, Lai asked the US government to rescue Andy Li and other “12 Hong Kong people” on Twitter.

10:20 Prosecution: Apple continued to publish seditious publications after Lai’s arrest

The prosecution also mentioned that after Jimmy Lai was arrested, Apple executives Cheung Kim-hung, Chan Pui Man, and Ryan Law Wai-kwong continued to be responsible for the daily operations of Apple Daily, and Apple Daily continued to publish articles such as “I will choose this road even if I have to go to prison” (坐監都揀呢條路) and “Handcuffs won’t humiliate me” (手銬不能侮辱我), and some interview clips, it can be seen that Lai stuck to his plan. Even though he was remanded in custody in December 2020, other Apple executives visited him in the detention center, and Apple Daily continued to operate and publish seditious publications. The prosecution mentioned that some of the seditious articles were written by Yeung Ching-kee, Lee Yee, Allan Au and others.

10:15 Prosecution: The seditious article involved in the case called on foreign countries to unite against the CCP

The prosecution said Apple Daily continued to publish seditious articles in both Chinese and English to promote foreign sanctions. Some of the content is directed at the implementation of the National Security Law, such as the article “Dry out the CCP? Checking Biden Administration China policy’s pulse” was published in February 2021. The content advocates for US President Joe Biden to work with other democratic countries to adopt an isolation policy against the CCP, especially in technology and diplomacy. Another article titled “A growing threat” described China as a “rogue state” that completely ignores the international order and hopes that other countries will unite to fight against the CCP.

The prosecution continued to allege that the relevant seditious articles encouraged the public to participate in demonstrations, causing the public to hate the police. The articles also claimed that the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong would weaken the rule of law in Hong Kong, and encouraged the public to use illegal means to “lam chau” (攬炒) to protest. Among the seditious publications involved, 31 specifically advocate for foreign sanctions. They are English-language articles and excerpts designed to attract the international community, including the United States.

10:08 The prosecution broadcasts Lai’s interview program, accusing Lai of describing Xi Jinping’s rule as “dictatorship”

The prosecution mentioned on Wednesday (January 3) that 19 people had participated in Lai’s talk show “Live Chat with Jimmy Lai”, including Chris Patten, then US Deputy Chief of Staff Jack Keane, then US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, etc. On Thursday (January 4) the prosecution continues to play relevant clips.

On December 1, 2020, two days before Jimmy Lai was charged with fraud, Lai interviewed Mark Clifford, former non-executive director of Next Media, and Dan Blumenthal, director of the Asian Studies Program at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) . Lai described President Xi Jinping as “an absolute dictator in human history” who would make major mistakes that would turn the entire world against him.

Lai continued that China’s concealment of the COVID-19 epidemic has brought disaster to the world. He also said that the Biden administration in the United States must realize that it requires strength, not weakness, to deal with the CCP. Lai stressed that “Western pressure is very important. China is currently facing a huge crisis and it is the best time to change China.”

10:01 Court starts

09:55 Jimmy Lai enters the court

Jimmy Lai walked into the defendant’s dock wearing a brown leather jacket. From time to time he looked at his relatives and friends in the public gallery, smiled and waved.

The Witness

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