Hong Kong activist jailed for nine years under new national security

Hong Kong activist jailed for nine years under new national security
Tong Ying-kit was pictured carrying a flag emblazoned with the words ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’. Prosecutors allege that he then drove his motorcycle at a group of policemen

An activist in 香港 has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of “secession” in the first trial under the city’s new national security law.

Tong Ying-kit, 24, was the first person charged under the controversial national security law and declared guilty of inciting secession and terrorism on Tuesday. Hong Kong’s High Court slapped him with a jail term of nine years on Friday, making him the first person imprisoned under the new law.

He was arrested on 1 July last year, on the first day the law came into force, and accused of driving his motorcycle at a small group of police officers while displaying a flag with the slogan: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” The slogan has been popular in pro-democracy protests in the city.

Tong had pleaded not guilty to the charges, arguing the slogan itself does not call for secession.

The three judges, handpicked by the city’s pro-Beijing chief executive 林郑月娥 to handle national security cases, said his expression of remorse “cannot be a mitigating factor to ask for a reduction in the sentence”.