British barrister was called ‘mercenary’ by UK foreign secretary for taking on case against pro-democracy figures

The British QC hired to run the prosecution of senior Hong Kong activists, including the media mogul Jimmy Lai, has pulled out of the case after widespread pressure, the territory’s government has said.

David Perry QC had been instructed by the Hong Kong justice department to prosecute 76-year-old Lai and eight others including the democracy figure Martin Lee and the veteran activist Lee Cheuk-yan. The group are charged with public order offences for organising and taking part in an unauthorised assembly. Lai, who is in jail on remand, is facing multiple separate charges including under the national security law.

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