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Hong Kong Man 1st Charged under Security Law

Hong Kong Man 1st Charged under Security Law

Friday, 3 July, 2020 - 09:15
Anti-extradition bill protesters march to West Kowloon Express Rail Link Station in Hong Kong, China July 7, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Asharq Al-Awsat

A man accused of deliberately driving his motorbike into a group of police officers became the first person in Hong Kong to be charged under Beijing's sweeping new national security law on Friday.

Tong Ying-kit, 23, was hit with one charge of inciting secession and one charge of terrorism, according to a court document obtained by AFP.

A police source said Tong drove his motorbike into a group of police officers on Wednesday during protests against the security law.

The source asked for anonymity in order to be able to speak freely. An earlier police statement gave the suspect's age as 24.

Tong was arrested on Wednesday when thousands defied a ban on rallies to protest against Beijing's new law, which was imposed a day earlier and has swiftly begun curtailing some political freedoms.

Video footage captured by local television that day showed a man on an orange motorbike with a flag that declared "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times" on the back.

He turned down a side street and drove into a group of riot police.

Bystander footage shot on a mobile phone captured a scene moments later, where the man was swiftly detained after he fell to the ground.

Police at the time said three officers were wounded.

Tong was not in court to hear the charges. A defense barrister said he remained in hospital with a fracture.

Beijing's new security law was kept secret until it was enacted, sending fear coursing through the city both for how it was imposed and the strangling of free speech provisions it contains.

It outlaws various acts viewed as subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.

Prominent Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law has left the city for an undisclosed location, he revealed on his Facebook page after testifying to a US congressional hearing about the tough national security law China imposed on territory.

In a post late Thursday, he said that he had decided to advocate for Hong Kong internationally and had left the city.

“As a global-facing activist, the choices I have are stark: to stay silent from now on, or to keep engaging in private diplomacy so I can warn the world of the threat of Chinese authoritarian expansion,” he said. “I made the decision when I agreed to testify before the US Congress.”

Britain must stick up for the people of Hong Kong, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.

"We have to stick up for our friends in Hong Kong, we have to stick up for their freedoms for the rights to association to free speech," he told LBC radio.

"We gave a commitment in 1984 to look after them ... to make sure that we stood by them, and we will."

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