Hong Kong man sentenced to 9 years behind bars in first national security law case
Tong Ying-kit, the first Hong Konger to be convicted under the national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), was sentenced to nine years in prison by the city's High Court on Friday for terrorism and inciting secession.
Tong rode a motorcycle with a flag bearing a "Hong Kong independence" slogan into police lines in Wan Chai on July 1, 2020, which caused serious injuries to three police officers.
According to Articles 24 and 21 of the national security law – which took effect on June 30, 2020 – a terrorism offense can lead to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, while conviction on the charge of incitement to secession can bring up to 10 years in prison.
Beijing approved the new legislation in the HKSAR last year following widespread protests sparked by a movement against a now abandoned fugitive bill. The demonstrations sometimes embroiled parts of the city in complete chaos. The local economy plunged into what was then its worst crisis since Hong Kong's return to China in 1997, with GDP contracting by 1.2 percent in 2019.
Officials say the legislation is a "resolute" effort taken by the central government that will make secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces illegal.
(Cover: The High Court in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, May 4, 2020. /Xinhua)