Hong Kong: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been granted bail, nearly three weeks after he was remanded in custody over fraud and national security-related charges.

Lai, an outspoken advocate for democracy in Hong Kong, was charged with fraud on December 3 for allegedly violating the lease terms for office space for his media company, Next Digital. He was later charged again on December 12 under the national security law, on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces and endangering national security.

Jimmy Lai, centre, pictured in custody earlier this month.

Jimmy Lai, centre, pictured in custody earlier this month.Credit:AP

Lai is among a recent string of pro-democracy activists and supporters arrested by Hong Kong police in recent months, prompting concerns that Hong Kong is cracking down on dissent following Beijing’s imposition of a national security law on the semi-autonomous Chinese territory in June.

He appeared in court on Wednesday, local time, and was released on bail of 10 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.72 million). He had been kept behind bars since December 3.

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