'Silly' of Jimmy Lai's legal team to reach out to the UK for help: Regina Ip

Executive Council convenor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said it was “very silly” of the legal team for jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying to ask the UK to interfere with Hong Kong's judicial procedures. 

She also said the legal team's request for UK's help didn't respect the rule of law, and UK sending their junior minister to meet with Lai's legal team indicated that even the British side knew the way they handled this issue was inappropriate. 

Ip went on to criticize certain legal professionals for interfering the matter based on political bias, saying it was exactly why Beijing was worried about overseas lawyers taking part in national security trials. 

Another pro-establishment lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding also blasted Lai's legal team for “shamelessly” asking foreign government to interfere with the SAR's affairs. 

He added UK sending a minister to meet with Lai's lawyers and admitting offering help to Lai was enraging as well. 

The controversy arose as BBC on Tuesday reported that Lai's international legal team requested an “urgent meeting” with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The report continued that the team wished to discuss “potential ways to secure Lai's release,” who also holds British nationality. 

On Tuesday night, 10 Downing Street confirmed that Minister for State for Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan had met Lai's UK-based legal team. 

The SAR government soon issued a statement in the early hours of Wednesday to oppose and condemn the UK government for interfering with the court case and attempting to undermine the city's rule of law. 

The national security trial for Lai who faces a collusion charge is scheduled on September 25. 

Yet, it remains unknown who will be defending Lai in court after Beijing's law interpretation in December last year ruled that chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu has the final say in whether or not to allow overseas lawyers to participate in national security law trials.