The first defendant under Hong Kong security law found guilty

15:49, 27 July 2021
The first defendant under Hong Kong security law found guilty Photo:

The Hong Kong High Court has convicted the first person under Hong Kong’s national security law who faces life imprisonment.

Tong Yin-Kit, a 24-year-old anti-government activist was accused of incitement to secessionism and terrorism and an alternative charge of dangerous driving.

On July 1, 2020, he crashed into a group of police officers riding his bike and carrying a flag with the protest slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times."

The 15-day trial ended in the High Court without a jury. Trials are presided over by judges handpicked by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam.

Tong has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers plan to ask for more leniency as it’s impossible to prove that Tong was inciting secession merely by having used the slogan while his actions couldn’t be considered terrorism since there was no serious violence or harm to society. The court will hold another meeting in the coming days and the final verdict will be announced.

Chinese authorities have banned the exact protest slogan due to its secessionist connotations. 

Over 100 people have been arrested under the security legislation followed by months of anti-government protests in 2019.

On June 30, 2020, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping signed a decree on the enactment of the National Security law. The law provides prevention and punishment of actions that threaten the national security of the Hong Kong administrative region. 

Previously, the Chinese court denied bail for four editors and journalists of the last country's remaining pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily held on charges of endangering national security as part of the widening crackdown.