Hong Kong, December 24 (ANI): Media tycoon and Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner -- who was charged under the draconian National Security Law -- has been granted bail and allowed to return to his home.
He was taken to custody almost three weeks ago.
According to Al Jazeera, a judge in the Hong Kong High Court on Wednesday grants bail at HKD 10 million (USD 1.3 million) and imposed a series of conditions that Lai remains at home, should not post anything on social media, give interviews or meet foreign officials and was also required to surrender his passport.
"Lai is one of the territory's most hard-hitting critics of Beijing, while his Next Media group is considered one of the key remaining bastions of media freedom," Al Jazeera reported.
First arrested in August this year when about 200 police officers stormed the newsroom of his Apple Daily tabloid, which was live-streamed by the newspaper's journalist to viewers.
The Twitter account of the tycoon has been suspended. He has been in jail since December 3 when he was charged with fraud related to the lease of the building.
Lai is required to report to the police three times a week. He is next due in court in April, Al Jazeera reported further.
US State Secretary Michael Pompeo slammed China for charging Hong Kong media mogul Lai under the draconian law and demanded that charges must be dropped.
Pompeo further went on to accuse the Chinese Communist Party of its authoritarian rule and making a mockery of the justice in the region.
"Hong Kong's National Security Law makes a mockery of justice. @JimmyLaiApple's only "crime" is speaking the truth about the Chinese Communist Party's authoritarianism and fear of freedom. Charges should be dropped and he should be released immediately,' Pompeo tweeted.
This comes after a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers were arrested in the month of October over protests after the draconian National Security Law was imposed on the city by Beijing.
The law criminalizes secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1. (ANI)