Verdict awaited as first Hong Kong safety trial ends

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By Related Press

HONG KONG: The trial of the primary individual to be charged underneath Hong Kong’s sweeping nationwide safety regulation ended Tuesday after practically a month, and now observers will look forward to a verdict within the landmark case to see how comparable circumstances could be handled.

Tong Ying-kit, 24, was accused of driving his bike into a gaggle of cops whereas carrying a flag bearing the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our instances” on July 1 final yr, a day after the nationwide safety regulation was enacted.

He pleaded not responsible to prices of inciting secession, terrorism and another cost of harmful driving.

The trial proceeded within the Excessive Court docket with no jury, a departure from the widespread regulation system in Hong Kong.

A verdict will likely be handed down on July 27, with life imprisonment the utmost penalty if discovered responsible.

Nationwide safety circumstances might proceed with no jury if state secrets and techniques have to be protected, overseas forces are concerned, or if the private security of jurors must be protected.

Trials are presided over by judges handpicked by Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam.

The nationwide safety regulation was imposed on semiautonomous Hong Kong by Beijing final yr, following months of anti-government protests by these upset by China’s creeping affect over the previous British colony.

It outlaws secession, subversion, terrorism and overseas collusion to intervene within the metropolis’s affairs.

Authorities have additionally banned the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our instances”, stating that it has secessionist connotations.

The laws and the crackdown on dissent that has accompanied it have drawn worldwide condemnation.

Critics say that the nationwide safety regulation additional infringes the liberty Hong Kong was promised it may preserve when it was handed to Chinese language management from Britain in 1997.

Greater than 100 folks have been arrested underneath the safety laws.

Tong’s case is being carefully watched for clues on how Hong Kong authorities will deal with different nationwide safety circumstances.

On this case, the interpretation of the protest slogan is vital.

Prosecutors say that secession could possibly be one of many interpretations of the “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our instances” slogan, and that Tong knowingly incited secession by carrying the flag and driving into the cops.

Tong’s protection lawyer nevertheless argues that there are a number of interpretations of such a slogan and it’s not potential to show that Tong was inciting secession.

The defence additionally says that there is no such thing as a proof that Tong dedicated the act intentionally, and that he had prevented crashing into officers.

The defence additionally stated that Tong’s actions shouldn’t be thought of terrorism as there was no severe violence or hurt to society.

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