Former bartender Tong Ying-kit, 24, was convicted of terrorism and secession earlier this week in Hong Kong.
The first person convicted under Hong Kong’s national security law was sentenced on Friday to nine years in prison, the judges said, in a decisive ruling with long-term implications for the city’s judicial landscape.
Former waiter Tong Ying-kit was sentenced to six and a half years in prison on the charge of inciting secession, and another eight years for allegedly committing acts of terror.
Taking into account the principle of totality of the court, Tong must serve two and a half years of his sentence of “terrorism” consecutively with the six and a half years of incitement to the charge of secession, which brings his total time in prison to nine years . Other parts of the sentence will be served at the same time.
He was also banned from obtaining a driver’s license for 10 years.
The court did not consider extenuating circumstances Tong’s good behavior and his personal situation as breadwinner.
In Friday’s sentencing, Tong told his family: “I will watch the sunset, you guys keep trying,” according to Galileo Cheng of the Hong Kong Catholic Institutions Staff Association.
Outside the court, dozens of people showed their support as they stood on a closed pedestrian bridge near the gate, where the police van carrying Tong was supposed to exit.
Tong’s attorney, Clive Grossman, was quoted as saying his client will “appeal” the sentence.
Tong, 24, was convicted Tuesday of terrorism for riding a motorcycle to three policemen and of secession for flying a protest flag during a rally on July 1 last year, the day after Beijing imposed the comprehensive law. of national security after months of government anti-protests.
The flag bore the forbidden slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time.”
Tong had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A father and a child were afraid and moved to the other side of the car.
Mom told me that even the team couldn’t be happy today #Hong Kong won how many gold or silver medals. She hopes her daughter remembers that many people tried to say goodbye to Tong. pic.twitter.com/o0n2CQBqyp
– Galileo Cheng (@galileocheng) July 30, 2021
The trial focused primarily on the meaning of the slogan, which was ubiquitous during the massive pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019.
It was sung on the streets, posted online, scrawled on walls, and printed on everything from brochures, books, stickers, and T-shirts to coffee mugs.
Discussions drew on a variety of topics, including ancient Chinese history, the US civil rights movement, and Malcolm X, to determine whether the catchphrase was secessionist.
Two expert witnesses summoned by the defense to analyze the meaning of the slogan, based on sources including a survey of some 25 million online posts, found “no substantial link” between the slogan and Hong Kong’s independence.
The Beijing and Hong Kong governments have repeatedly said that the security law was necessary to bring stability after the often violent protests of 2019 and that the rights and freedoms promised to the city following its return to Chinese rule in 1997 remain intact.
The law, imposed by Beijing in June 2020, punishes what China views as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
The government says that all prosecutions have been handled independently and in accordance with the law, and that enforcement actions have nothing to do with the political stance, background or profession of those arrested.