Hong Kong court convicts human rights activist under national security law

The Hong Kong High Court on Tuesday convicted Tong Ying-kit under the National Security Law (NSL) for inciting secessionism and terrorism. Tong was accused of driving his motorcycle into a group of police officers while carrying a flag bearing the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” last July.

The NSL was imposed by Bejing on Hong Kong amid protests last year. Tong is the first person convicted under the law, which could indicate how similar cases will be dealt with in the future, with more than 100 people having been arrested under NSL between in the past year.

During the trial, Tong was denied the right to trial by jury, a common law system followed in Hong Kong courts for 176 years. The justice secretary stated that there was a potential risk to the jurors.

Tong will face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and his lawyers are expected to argue for a lighter punishment at his sentencing hearing Thursday.