美國《華爾街日報》對黎智英被捕一事，以《黎智英，中國的謊言》（Jimmy Lai, China’s Lie）為題發表社評，形容在今時今日的香港，推動民主便足以讓人成為罪犯，又批評當權者把租賃糾紛刑事化是打擊政敵。
Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been denied bail following his arrest on December 2 for alleged fraud. He will remain behind bars until the next court date in April 16, 2021.
Lai and 2 senior executives of Next Digital were formally charged for using their headquarters in Tseung Kwan O for purposes not allowed in the building lease.
The case was heard by national security law-designated judge Victor So, who refused bail and adjourned to April 16 next year, while the other 2 executives were granted bail.
US Secretary of State Pompeo tweeted, “The United States is appalled by the Hong Kong government’s political persecution of Jimmy Lai, Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Ivan Lam. Their struggle to resist the CCP’s denial of their fundamental rights will stand throughout history as testaments to the human spirit.”
The Wall Street Journal published an editorial on the arrest titled “Jimmy Lai, China’s Lie”, stating that “In today’s Hong Kong, promoting democracy makes you a criminal,” criticizing the authority for criminalizing rental disputes as fraud charges for political opponents.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that the case “raised fears of a renewed crackdown on the city’s activists and media figures, spurred by a controversial new security law”, which critics say has silenced dissent.
Former Legislator Claudia Mo, who has served in the media for many years, said that the judge appointed by the National Security Law rejected Jimmy Lai’s bail, reflecting that the Hong Kong government’s actions against Lai were “clearly revealed,” as he is a media boss, and for of his prominent role in the Hong Kong democracy movement.”
A barrister pointed out that Hong Kong adheres to the principle of presumption of innocence. If a citizen is charged, generally he will be granted bail. The factors that the court considers whether or not to approve bail based on “absconding risk.” He was shocked that Lai was accused of alleged fraud and denied bail as he is not a repeat offender. Lai has been arrested against the National Security Law and his passport was confiscated, and is unable to leave Hong Kong through normal channels. If all defendants in cases alleged by the prosecution involving the National Security Law are denied bail, it will inevitably make people question that the court is only a rubber stamp.