Conflicts & War

Trial of first defendant under Hong Kong national security law begins

Shanghai, China, Jun 23 (EFE).- A Hong Kong court held Wednesday the first hearing of the trial against the first defendant under the national security law Beijing imposed in 2020 in response to 2019 anti-government protests, according to local press.

Public television channel RTHK said the defendant, 24-year-old Tong Ying-kit, faces terrorism and incitement to secession charges for allegedly riding his motorcycle toward a group of police officers waving a flag reading “Free Hong Kong, the revolution of our era.”

The events took place on Jul. 1, 2020, just one day after the national security law — which carries penalties up to life imprisonment — came into force.

Tong also faces a charge of “causing serious bodily harm through dangerous driving.” The trial is expected to last 15 days and more than a dozen witnesses would testify.

The defendant has been detained for almost a year and repeatedly denied bail, along with requests from his lawyers to present a ‘habeas corpus’ writ to appeal the legal basis for his arrest.

His case will be tried by three judges dedicated to national security law after authorities refused to employ a jury, citing concerns for the “personal safety” of potential members and their families.

Tong was the first defendant under the national security law, which has since been used to prosecute dozens of participants in the 2019 protests or figures from the city’s pro-democracy opposition. EFE


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