Hong Kong Supreme Court ruled guilty on national security
HONG KONG – The first person to be tried under Hong Kong’s Comprehensive National Security Law was found guilty of secessionism and terrorism on Tuesday.
The Hong Kong Supreme Court ruled on Tong Ying-kit, aged 24. He is accused of driving his motorcycle into a group of police while carrying a flag with the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” “on July 1 last year, the day after Beijing after months of anti-government protests Imposed comprehensive national security laws on Hong Kong in 2019.
The ruling was closely watched for guidance on how to deal with similar cases in the future. More than 100 people were arrested under the Security Act.
Tong pleaded not guilty of inciting secession, terrorism and an alternative charge of dangerous driving.
He faces the maximum sentence of life imprisonment and his lawyers are expected to advocate a lighter sentence at his hearing on Thursday.
The trial, which ended on July 20, was held in the High Court without a jury, under rules that allow this exception from Hong Kong’s common law system to protect state secrets, involve foreign forces, or require the personal safety of the jury is be protected. The trials will be led by judges chosen by Hong Kong head of state Carrie Lam.
Tong’s defense attorney said it was impossible to prove that Tong incited secession simply by using the slogan.
The defense also said there was no evidence that Tong committed the crime on purpose, that he avoided colliding with officials, and that his actions could not be considered terrorism as there was no serious violence or harm to them Company.
While Hong Kong has its own legislative council, Beijing’s ceremonial legislature imposed the national security law on the semi-autonomous city after finding that the body could not pass the law on its own due to political opposition.
This followed increasingly violent protests in 2019 against China’s growing influence over the city’s affairs, despite the commitment to allow the city to maintain its own system for 50 years after it surrendered to British rule in 1997.
China’s lawmakers have ordered changes to the composition of the city’s legislative council to ensure an overwhelming majority in favor of Beijing, and require only those they call “patriots” to hold office.
The authorities have banned the protest slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” and stated that it has secessionist connotations. Library books and school curricula were also examined for suspected secessionist messages.
Hong Kong’s last remaining pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, was pulled out of business last month and a court bailed out four editors and journalists arrested for threats to national security in the escalating raid.
Beijing has rejected criticism, stating that it is merely restoring order in the city and introducing the same national security protections as other countries.
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