Hong Kong media personality and Beijing critic Jimmy Lai appeared in front of a court on Saturday in the face of a charge issued under the new national security law that might jail him for life, AFP reported.
Lai has been accused of collaborating with foreign governments by calling them on to sanction Hong Kong and China in response to the crackdown by the Chinese government on the pro-democracy protests raging on in the city-state.
73-year-old Lai is the most high-profile figure charged under the law so far. The judicial amendment has targeted the pro-democracy protests but also has brought a semblance of calm in the finance hub.
The new national security department accused Lai of "Collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security", according to AFP. Under the law, Lai can face maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The prosecutor stated in the court that Lai had broken the security law between July 1 and December 1 by meddling with an organization, individual or a country in order to "impose sanctions or blockade, or engage in other hostile activities".
Lai has acknowledged the charges.
Chief Magistrate Victor So, one of six Magistrates to have been handpicked by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam, said the investigation needs more time.
Reportedly, the police investigations revolved around more than a thousand social media posts from Lai as well as his interviews to the media and overseas visits claimed to have been in favour of imposing sanctions against Hong Kong and China.
AFP further stated the police to be noting that Lai followed 53 people on Twitter including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and a member of Britain's Conservative Party, Luke de Pulford.