Hong Kong protester given 9-year term in 1st security case – News Vibe24

    Hong Kong protester given 9-year term in 1st security case - Times of India
    HONG KONG: A Democratic protester was sentenced on Friday to nine years in prison in the first case closely monitored under Hong Kong National Security Act, as the ruling Communist Party strengthens control of the territory.
    Tong Ying-kit, 24, was convicted of inciting secession and terrorism for riding his motorcycle to a group of police officers at a rally on July 1, 2020. He carried a banner reading the banned slogan “Free Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”
    Beijing imposed security law on the former British colony last year following anti-government protests that erupted in mid-2019.
    The sentence was significantly longer than the three years requested by the prosecution. Tong’s defense attorneys appealed for no more than 10. He faced a possible life sentence ceiling.
    Critics have accused Beijing of violating the Western-style autonomy and civil liberties it promised when Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 and damaged its status as a trading and financial hub.
    Officials reject the criticism, saying Beijing is restoring order and introducing security protections like those of other countries. More than 100 people were arrested under security law.
    Defense attorneys said Tong’s sentence should be light because the three-judge panel did not find the attack intentional, no one was injured, and the secession-related offense was classified as a minor under the law.
    On Friday, Tong was wearing a black shirt and a tie with a blue blazer, as he was throughout his trial.
    The three-judge panel ruled on Tuesday that Tong’s actions were an act of violence aimed at coercing the governments of Hong Kong and the mainland and intimidating the public. He said the hoisting of the flag was an act of incitement to secession, dismissing the defense’s arguments that Tong could prove to be inciting secession only by using the slogan.
    Tong’s trial was conducted without a jury in accordance with rules that allow an exception to the British common law system such as Hong Kong, whether state secrets must be protected or when foreign powers are involved. The judges were chosen by Hong Kong CEO Kari Lam.
    Hong Kong’s latest Democratic newspaper, the Apple Daily, closed last month following the arrest of journalists and executives. Its owner, Jimmy Lai, is serving a 20-month prison sentence and faces more charges of colluding with foreigners to endanger national security.
    Also last year, Hong Kong’s legislature was reshuffled to reduce the role of the public in electing lawmakers and guarantee a majority to allies in Beijing. The rules for elected officials are strict to require them to be considered patriots.


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