The first person charged under Hong Kong’s national security law was found guilty on Tuesday of terrorism and inciting secession in a landmark case with long-term implications for how the legislation reshapes the city’s common law traditions.
An alternative charge of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm was not considered. The High Court will hear mitigation arguments on Thursday and sentencing will be announced at a later date.
Former waiter Tong Ying-kit, 24, was accused of driving his motorcycle into three riot police while carrying a flag with the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” which prosecutors said was secessionist.
The widely anticipated ruling, much of which has hinged on the interpretation of the slogan, imposes new limits on free speech in the former British colony. Pro-democracy activists and human rights groups have also criticised the decision to deny Tong bail and a jury trial, which have been key features of Hong Kong’s rule of law.
His trial was presided over by judges Esther Toh, Anthea Pang and Wilson Chan, picked by city leader Carrie Lam to hear national security cases.