Hong Kong Court Hands Nine Year Sentence to First Protester Convicted under National Security Law

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The first Hong Kong resident convicted of “terrorism” under the territory’s new national security law was sentenced to nine years in jail on Friday.

Tong Ying-kit, 24, was initially convicted over his actions during protests on July 1 last year. Tong rode a motorcycle through a Hong Kong neighborhood with a flag bearing the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times,” and crashed into a group of police officers attempting to stop him, leaving three injured.

A three-judge panel appointed by Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam sentenced Tong to eight years in jail for terrorism and 6.5 years for inciting secession, but ruled that the sentence should be served partly concurrently, for a total of nine years. Tong was refused a trial by jury.

Earlier this week, the court found that Tong deliberately ran his motorcycle into the group of police, however his attorney Clive Grossman disputed the charge.

“A person who sets out to commit the act of terrorism by driving into people does not put his foot on the brake,” Grossman said during the trial.

Tong was convicted under the national security law applied by China to Hong Kong last year, which criminalizes behavior deemed damaging to China. Over 60 other people are currently awaiting a trial under the law, and authorities have arrested a number of pro-democracy activists since the law went into effect.

As China asserted increasing authority over the former British colony last year, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo informed Congress that the State Department could no longer consider Hong Kong an “autonomous” territory.

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