First Hong Kong protester sentenced to 9 years under national security law
18:04, 30 July 2021
Tong Ying-kit drove his motorcycle into police officers carrying a flag with a separatist message.
On Friday Hong Kong saw the first jailing under the controversial security law.
Tong Ying-kit has been sent to prison for nine years for hitting three police officers with his motorbike and waving a flag "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times" back on July 1, 2020, the day when the law came into effect.
#breaking Remember the name Tong Ying-kit. The 24-year old is now the first #HongKong'er found guilty of crimes under China's controversial National Security Law, or #NSL. Three judges declared him guilty of inciting secession, terrorism. Awaiting sentencing. @CBSNews is here. pic.twitter.com/gkyM9ss00h
The incident was qualified as terrorist activity and cost the 24-year-old restaurant waiter 8 years of prison, the latter was qualified as inciting secession, leading to another 8 years of imprisonment. Since 2.5 years will run simultaneously, the overall term is 9 years.
Tong has pleaded not guilty. The lawyer of the defendant has declared that they would appeal the conviction.
Human rights organizations have already blamed the verdict, saying it imposes new restrictions on freedom of speech.
Furthermore, the trial which lasted for two weeks was held without a jury which contradicts the jurisdictional traditions of the region. This was explained by "a risk to the safety of jurors and their family members or that due administration of justice might be impaired".
The three judges have been directly appointed by Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam.
More than 60 protesters can be prosecuted under this law. According to mainland China, it is supposed to ensure stability in the region but it is widely regarded as a means to keep a tighter grip on the pro-democratic movement.