Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - First person convicted under new Hong Kong security law, faces life in prison

First person convicted under new Hong Kong security law, faces life in prison

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tong Ying-kit , who is accused of deliberately driving his motorcycle into a group of police officers on July 1, arrives in West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts in Hong Kong on July 6, 2020. CHINA DAILY

First person convicted under new Hong Kong security law, faces life in prison

In Hong Kong’s first conviction under China’s National Security Law for the special administrative region, the city’s High Court on July 27 found that a motorcyclist who rammed police officers was guilty of terrorism and incitement to secession. Leon Tong Ying-kit faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

A three-judge High Court panel designated for national security cases ruled that during a protest last year, Tong had intentionally incited others to separate Hong Kong from China and “seriously jeopardised public safety”.

During a protest in Wan Chai district on July 1 last year, Tong, now 24, struck three police officers with his motorcycle. He also had with him a flag bearing the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” that was a signature rallying call during the 2019 social unrest.

The former waiter was arrested and charged with terrorism, incitement to secession and dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm. His case was first heard on June 23 in a trial that lasted for 16 days.

According to articles 24 and 21 of the law, the terrorism offence can lead to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, while conviction on the charge of incitement to secession can bring up to 10 years in prison.

The judges held that the slogan carried secessionist meaning and the display of the words was capable of inciting others to commit secession.

Understanding the meaning, the defendant intended to communicate it to others and incite them to commit secession, the court said, adding that the slogan reflected a “political agenda” advocated by the defendant at the time.

The court also found that the defendant’s crashing into the police officers was a deliberate challenge mounted against the police, “a symbol of Hong Kong’s law and order”.

The act involved “serious violence” against others that caused “grave harm” to society and “seriously jeopardised public safety”. It was carried out with a view to “intimidating the public in order to pursue a political agenda”, the court found.

Evidence showed that despite repeated warnings, including the firing of pepper balls, the defendant drove through three police cordons and rammed into police officers at the fourth. He accelerated the motorcycle either before or after arriving at each police line, according to the court.

Three officers were knocked to the ground, suffering multiple injuries. One whose left wrist was seriously injured has not yet recovered, and reportedly even twisting open a water bottle is difficult.

The court ruled that every element of the offences in the incitement and terrorism counts had been proved, so there was “no need” to deal with the charge of dangerous driving. The court will hear the defendant’s mitigation plea on the morning of July 29.

As of July 26, police had arrested 138 people on suspicion of endangering national security, and 76 of them were later charged. Three companies were also charged under the National Security Law, the Security Bureau said in reply to a query from China Daily on July 26.

In a social media post on July 27, lawmaker and solicitor Holden Chow Ho-ding said that the first conviction in a National Security Law case sent a message to Hong Kong society that the law is of “great significance” in deterring acts endangering national security and safeguarding public order.



  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.