Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Hong Kong Court Convicts Man Over Slogan Chanted by Thousands” – below is their description.
A Hong Kong court found an activist guilty of inciting secession for displaying a banned slogan that was chanted by tens of thousands of protesters, marking the first conviction under a national security law imposed by Beijing.
Tong Ying-kit was found guilty of a charge of incitement to secession and another of engaging in terrorist activities by three High Court judges selected from a panel chosen by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. The law carries tiered prison sentences that increase to as a long as life depending on the severity of the offense, although there was no precedent to shed light on how the courts would apply those penalties.
The waiter, who has been held without bail for more than a year, had pleaded not guilty over his actions at a protest in 2020 when he drove a motorcycle with a flag bearing the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times” into a group of police officers. The incident occurred hours after the law was enacted and police declared that slogan banned.
The court said in a judgment posted online Tuesday that “such display of the words was capable of inciting others to commit secession,” meaning separating Hong Kong from mainland China. It added that by riding his vehicle into the officers, Tong had “a view to intimidating the public in order to pursue political agenda.”
The verdict is likely to exacerbate worries that Hong Kong courts will strictly interpret and enforce crimes detailed in a national security law that was drafted by mainland Chinese officials and imposed on the city with no local debate. Beijing handed down the legislation last year in the wake of large and often violent protests in the Asian financial hub two years ago.
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