First person charged under national security law found guilty in Hong Kong
In a landmark ruling, the first person to be charged under the controversial Hong Kong national security law imposed by China has been found guilty. The man, Tong Ying-kit, was charged with inciting secession and terrorism after he rode a motorbike into police while flying a flag calling for the liberation of Hong Kong. Since the relatively new law came into effect in 2019, more than 100 people have been arrested on charges related to the regulations. The law effectively makes it easier to punish activists and reduces Hong Kong’s autonomy. Tuesday’s verdict comes after a 15-day trial. Tong could now face life in jail and his sentencing will be held at a later date.
Tong was sentenced to a trial without a jury, marking a departure from Hong Kong’s common law tradition. Although Tong’s defense team argued for a jury, the justice secretary stated that the jurors’ safety would be put at risk due to the sensitive political climate that currently exists in Hong Kong. Tong, 24, was arrested in July of last year following his actions at a protest. Justice Toh stated that the phrase on Tong’s flag represented incitement of others to commit secession.