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Man is first to stand trial under Hong Kong’s security law Hong Kong High Court China

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Man is first to stand trial under Hong Kong's security law Hong Kong High Court China 2

A man accused of driving a motorcycle into police officers while carrying a Hong Kong protest flag became on Wednesday the first person to stand trial under the national security law implemented last year as China s central government tightened control over the city.

Tong Ying-kit was arrested on July 1, 2020, a day after the national security law took effect, for allegedly inciting session by driving into the crowd of officers while bearing a flag with the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times.” Several officers were knocked over and three sustained injuries.

The slogan was often chanted during anti-government demonstrations in 2019 by protesters demanding broader democratic freedoms.

China responded to the protests with a number of measures suppressing dissent, including the national security law, which criminalizes subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion endangering national security. A number of protest leaders and other activists have been charged under the law.

The security law makes calls for Hong Kong independence illegal, and a government notice last July said the “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” slogan connotes a call for independence and subversion of state power.

A court ruled last month that Tong will stand trial without a jury, a diversion from Hong Kong’s common law traditions. Under the national security law, a panel of three judges can replace jurors and the city’s leader has the power to designate judges to hear such cases.

The law carries a maximum penalty of life in prison for serious offenders.

Tong is standing trial at the High Court where sentences are not capped.

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