ontario news watch

Hong Kong tycoon gets 14-month jail term over 2019 protest

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong media tycoon and outspoken pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai was sentenced to more jail time Friday over his role in an anti-government protest in 2019, as authorities crack down on dissent in the city.

Lai and nine others were charged with incitement to take part in an unauthorized assembly, for their roles in a protest on Oct. 1, 2019, when they walked down a road with thousands of others.

Lai, 73, was sentenced to 14 months in prison. He is currently serving a separate 14-month jail term for other convictions earlier this year also related to unauthorized rallies in 2019, when Hong Kong residents took to the streets in the biggest challenge to Beijing since the city was handed from British to Chinese control in 1997.

With the two sentences combined, Lai will serve a total of 20 months behind bars.

He is also being investigated under the city’s sweeping national security law, imposed last year, for colluding with foreign powers to intervene in the Hong Kong affairs.

Authorities have arrested and charged most of the city’s pro-democracy advocates, who also include Joshua Wong, a student leader during 2014 protests.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement called on Hong Kong authorities to drop charges filed against people “merely for standing for election or for expressing dissenting views.”

Zen Soo, The Associated Press