Guilty verdict in first trial under Hong Kong security law

Katie R. Ochoa

HONG KONG–The initial human being to be attempted underneath Hong Kong’s sweeping countrywide safety regulation was found guilty of secessionism and terrorism on Tuesday.

The Hong Kong Significant Court handed down the verdict in the situation of Tong Ying-package, age 24. He is accused of driving his bike into a team of police officers whilst carrying a flag bearing the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” on July 1 final yr, a day after Beijing imposed sweeping countrywide security legislation on Hong Kong adhering to months of anti-federal government protests in 2019.

Tong Ying-kit, who is accused of deliberately driving his motorcycle into a group of police officers on July 1, arrives at the West Kowloon court in Hong Kong on July 6, 2020. - Tong, 23, charged with inciting secession and one charge of terrorism, became the first person in Hong Kong on July 3 to be charged under Beijing's sweeping new national security law. (Photo by ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP) (Photo by ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Tong Ying-kit, who is accused of deliberately driving his bike into a team of law enforcement officers on July 1, comes at the West Kowloon court docket in Hong Kong on July 6, 2020. – Tong, 23, billed with inciting secession and a single demand of terrorism, grew to become the 1st human being in Hong Kong on July 3 to be charged below Beijing’s sweeping new nationwide stability regulation. (Photograph by ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP) (Photograph by ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP by way of Getty Visuals)
(ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP by way of Getty Images)

The verdict was carefully viewed for indications as to how related cases will be dealt with in foreseeable future. Extra than 100 individuals have been arrested less than the security legislation.

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Tong pleaded not responsible to charges of inciting secession, terrorism and an option demand of unsafe driving.

He faces a optimum sentence of daily life imprisonment, and his attorneys are anticipated to argue for a lighter punishment at his sentencing hearing Thursday.

The trial, which ended July 20, was held in the Significant Court with no jury, less than principles permitting this exception from Hong Kong’s frequent regulation procedure if condition techniques will need to be safeguarded, overseas forces are involved or if the own safety of jurors requirements to be guarded. Trials are presided in excess of by judges handpicked by Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam.

Tong’s protection law firm has stated it is really unattainable to prove that Tong was inciting secession basically by acquiring used the slogan.

The defense also stated there is no evidence that Tong dedicated the act deliberately, that he averted crashing into officers and that his actions could not be regarded as terrorism since there was no serious violence or hurt to culture.

When Hong Kong has its possess Legislative Council, Beijing’s ceremonial legislature imposed the countrywide safety law on the semiautonomous city soon after it identified the physique was not able to pass the legislation itself since of political opposition.

That adopted the more and more violent 2019 protests against China’s growing influence over the city’s affairs, inspite of commitments to allow for the city to manage its personal process for 50 decades soon after the 1997 handover from British rule.

China’s legislature has mandated changes to the makeup of the city’s Legislative Council to ensure an frustrating professional-Beijing greater part, and demanded that only those people it determines “patriots” can keep place of work.

Authorities have banned the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our periods,” stating that it has secessionist connotations. Library publications and college curricula have also been investigated for alleged secessionist messages.

Hong Kong’s last remaining pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Every day, was forced out of business enterprise past month and a court denied bail for 4 editors and journalists held on charges of endangering nationwide protection as part of the widening crackdown.

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Beijing has dismissed criticisms, stating it is just restoring get to the metropolis and instituting they identical variety of countrywide stability protections observed in other countries.
 

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