A man has been jailed for nine years in Hong Kong under a new national security law that was imposed on the city by Beijing in an attempt to prevent dissent.
Tong Ying-kit, a 24-year-old waiter, was convicted of terrorism after he drove a motorbike into riot police officers and was also charged with inciting secession after flying a protest flag that carried the slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” during a rally in July last year.
The ruling has been met with criticism, with activists stating that it imposes new limits on free speech. The ruling was also criticised as Tong was denied bail and a jury trial.
A summary of the ruling was read out in court, which stated that the slogan was capable of inciting others to commit secession.
Judge Esther Toh, Anthea Pang and Wilson Chan said Tong’s motorcycle could have been used as a potentially lethal weapon while Judge Toh said his actions caused “grave harm to society”.
According to Reuters, the judges stated, “The defendant’s failure to stop at all the police checklines, eventually crashing into the police, was a deliberate challenge mounted against the police, a symbol of Hong Kong’s law and order,”.
Tong was sentenced to eight years in prison for the first charge and 6.5 years for the second charge, however, some of the time can be served concurrently which will lead to a total of nine years.