First conviction under contested security law Hong Kong

The first person to be charged with violating the controversial security law in Hong Kong has been convicted of terrorism and inciting separatism. The 24-year-old Tong Ying kit was arrested last year. He was accused of driving his motorcycle to a group of police officers. In addition, he wore a banner with the slant โ€œFree Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Timeโ€.

The security law was enacted in Hong Kong last year, under fierce protest by activists in the semi-autonomous city and after criticism from many Western countries. The law prohibits the pursuit of Chinas secession, foreign interference and state-undermining activities. Critics are particularly concerned with an attempt to knock down the call for democracy in Hong Kong.

Many activists waited in suspense for the pronunciation. Since the law was introduced, dozens of people have been arrested and they may be waiting for long prison sentences. Tong Ying kit is up to a lifetime imprisonment. Whether he gets it is not clear yet. The three-headed court, appointed by director Carrie Lam, later makes a ruling on the punishment he receives.

Same meaning for 1000 years

In dealing with the case, it was long about whether the slant โ€œLiberated Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Timeโ€ is separatist. Tongs lawyers didnt say, โ€œJust like when someone says โ€œlets fight for our rights,โ€ that doesnt mean grab a gun and shoot people, said one of his lawyers.

But the court didnt go along with that. After a long paper on the origins of the slant – conceived in 2016 by the now imprisoned independence activist Edward Leung – it was concluded that the words โ€œliberatedโ€ and โ€œrevolutionโ€ have had the same meaning in China for over 1000 years. โ€œThe defendant understands that the slant has a separatist meaning,โ€ the judge said.

Tongs defense also opposed the terrorist charges. According to his lawyers, that he drove dangerous. And he should have stopped his engine when cops called him to do that, they find. But the accusation of terrorism went too far: โ€œSomeone who intends to commit an act of terror by driving people will not be on the brakes.โ€