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Celebrity who inspired HK riots to appear in court for illegal assembly charge

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who founded local newspaper Apple Daily, right, wears a face mask before entering a court in Hong Kong, Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Lai and other two arrived at the court for the first day sentence as they are on charges of joining unlawful protests last year calling for reforms.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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Hong Kong police charged 13 people, including media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and former lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan for participating in, organizing and inciting others to participate in illegal assembly last year.

The accused were summoned to appear before the court on Monday afternoon.

People convicted of the offense of unlawful assembly could face up to five years of imprisonment in Hong Kong.

Lai is now facing at least seven charges and he will also appear in court on August 19 for offense of criminal intimidation.

A Hong Kong court on Friday dismissed an application from Jimmy Lai Chee-ying asking to leave the city temporarily. This was the second time Jimmy Lai, founder of Apple Daily and media group Next Digital, had applied to lift the travel ban.

The 72-year-old was arrested for being suspected of violating Hong Kong’s Crimes Ordinance by verbally intimidating a man during an assembly on June 4, 2017 in the Eastern District on Hong Kong Island. He was also suspected of violating Hong Kong’s Public Order Ordinance by participating in an unauthorized assembly between Wan Chai and Central on August 31, 2019.

In May, Jimmy Lai was allowed to be released on a 4,000 Hong Kong dollars-bail while waiting for the trial. He is not allowed to leave Hong Kong and must report to the police every Wednesday. At the time he applied to be able to travel out of Hong Kong, but that request was withdrawn. The High Court only allowed him to drop the requirement of a weekly visit to the police station.

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