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Justiça / 29/07/2021


First tried in security law convicted of terrorism in Hong Kong

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First tried in security law convicted of terrorism in Hong Kong

The accused carried a flag with a prohibited slogan and directed his motorcycle to a police checkpoint

Tong Ying-kit, a 24-year-old waiter, was tried and convicted of terrorism and incitement to secession in Hong Kong in the first court case under national security law. The case, concluded on Tuesday (27), indicates that the local court will take a hard line in similar situations.

The incident leading to the conviction occurred on July 1, 2020, the first day the law went into effect. Tong was riding a motorcycle with a black flag that read “Free Hong Kong. Revolution of Our Times”, slogan used by anti-government activists in the 2019 demonstrations.

Tong Ying-kit, first Hong Kong citizen convicted under national security law (Photo: Amnesty International)

The trial focused on interpreting the slogan and its ability to convince other citizens to claim Hong Kong's independence China. “Such display of words was able to incite others to secession,” says the sentence, which further highlighted the fact that the accused was aware of such meaning.

The judges further highlighted the fact that Tong ignored police barriers, “deliberately” advancing against the police, who are “a symbol of law and order in Hong Kong”.

Human rights

Amnesty International contested the judgment. “Tong Ying-kit's conviction is a significant and ominous moment for human rights in Hong Kong. Today's verdict underscores the troubling fact that expressing certain political views in the city is now officially a crime, potentially punishable by life imprisonment,” said Yamini Mishra, Asia-Pacific regional director of the agency.

“To condemn Tong Ying-kit for 'secession' for displaying a flag with a widely used political slogan is a violation of international law, under which the expression should not be criminalized unless it poses a concrete threat. This looks like the beginning of the end of freedom of expression in Hong Kong,” Mishra continued.

Two central issues related to the trial are highlighted by human rights organizations: the court having denied bail to the accused and the trial not having a popular jury.

In the Tong case, magistrates Esther Toh, Anthea Pang and Wilson Chan, chosen by city chief executive Carrie Lam, were chosen to hear national security cases. Lam is a notorious advocate of Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Life imprisonment

The national security law of the semi-autonomous territory, imposed by China in July of last year, classifies and criminalizes any attempt to “intervene” in local affairs as “subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion”. Serious infractions can lead to life imprisonment.

The move came in the wake of a series of protests against Beijing's increased control over the semi-autonomous territory, which since left British rule in 1997. Hong Kong, now part of China, qualifies as a SAR (Special Administrative Region). ), a system that grants it greater autonomy, different the rest of the country.

Beijing's goal with legal regulations is to increase the crackdown on dissidents in Hong Kong. Western governments, including the US and UK, accuse Beijing of breaking promises to guarantee the territory a high degree of autonomy for 50 years

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