Jimmy Lai to pleads not guilty as six ex-Apple Daily executives to admit national security charge
The case of former pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, charged with foreign collusion under national security law, was under management hearing on Monday with six former executives of Apple Daily deciding to plead guilty.
Those six defendants, including Apple Daily’s former CEO Cheung Kim-hung, former associate publisher Chan Pui-man, former editor-in-chief Law Wai-kwong, former executive editor-in-chief Lam Man-chung, former editorial writers Fung Wai-kwong and Yeung Ching-kee, were arrested last year for engaging in the case involving Lai with conspiracy to collude with foreign forces.
They were charged alongside Lai with “collusion with external elements to endanger national security” andconspiracy to “printing, publishing, selling, offering for sale, distributing, displaying or reproducing seditious publication.”
On Monday, prosecutor Anthony Chau informed the court that the six Apple Daily executives have indicated that they plan to plead guilty. A guilty plea usually entitles defendants to a sentence reduction.
Lai and the three companies involved - Apple Daily Limited, Apple Daily Printing Limited, and AD Internet Limited - plan to plead not guilty, the court heard, meaning a full trial is expected.
Lai is currently serving sentences at Stanley Prison after being convicted for participating in three illegal assemblies in 2019.
The case will be tried by three designated National Security Law Judges - Esther Toh Lye-ping, Susana Maria D’Almada Remedios, and Alex Lee Wan-tang - in the High Court with no jury present.
According to the judges, the case needed to be on trial as soon as possible.
“Judiciary will take conditions of both defendants and respondents into consideration when scheduling the date for the trial since the period for the trial lasts for 30 days,” said the judges.
“However, the schedule needs to be in a rush since the case involves national security law,” judges mentioned in court, “and the second round of hearing will be held as long as the trial date is settled.”