District Court rules Jimmy Lai has case to answer over fraud case

Jailed Next Digital founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying has a case to answer over his fraud charges, the District Court ruled on Monday.

Lai was charged with two counts of fraud for allowing a consultancy company to use the group's Tseung Kwan O headquarters, breaching the tenancy agreement with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp.

He was accused of deceiving HKSTP over the use of the industrial estate plot at 8 Chun Ying Street in Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate between April 1, 1998 and December 31, 2015.

Earlier, Lai alongside Next's administrative director Wong Wai-keung and operation officer Royston Chow Tat-kuen were already charged with fraud for the same crime that took place between January 1, 2016, and May 19, 2020.

The trial entered the 19th day on Monday, as the prosecuting side finished giving evidence. District Judge Stanley Chan Kwong-chi ruled that the prosecutor had presented sufficient evidence to require the two defendants to enter a defence.

The defense said Lai and Wong would not defend themselves, nor call defense witnesses.

Chan ordered both sides to make oral closing statements on Aug 24, during which Lai will remain in custody and Wong could continue to be released on bail.