Top Asian News 2:39 a.m. GMT

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Next Digital trading halted after Jimmy Lai's assets frozen

HONG KONG (AP) — The Hong Kong stock exchange on Monday halted the trading of Next Digital shares, days after authorities froze assets belonging to its founder Jimmy Lai. Next Digital said in a filing that it requested the halt after authorities announced that it had frozen Lai’s assets Friday. Next Digital publishes pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily, and the company was founded by Lai, its controlling shareholder. The freeze comes as Lai and nine other pro-democracy activists appeared in court Monday, facing charges related to inciting others to take part in an unauthorized assembly in October 2019. Lai is currently serving a 14-month prison sentence for his role in two separate unauthorized assemblies in 2019, during a period where massive anti-government protests took place as Hong Kong residents protested a proposed extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kongers to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial.