E.For the first time, a Hong Kong court has passed a judgment under the controversial security law. A 24-year-old man was sentenced on Tuesday in the Chinese metropolis for terrorism and incitement to separatism. Just a few hours after the law came into force on July 1 of last year, he drove his motorcycle into a police cordon during protests. He carried a flag with the slogan of the protest movement “Liberate Hong Kong – Revolution of Our Time”.
Initially, the guilty verdict did not impose any sentence. However, the man threatens life imprisonment, as the Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK reported. The judge found that the verdict on the liberation of Hong Kong had separatist significance and could encourage others to pursue a secession of the former British colony from the People’s Republic of China.
The terrorism charge came because the man did not stop at the barrier with his motorcycle, but drove into three police officers and injured them. The judge saw a premeditated act of violence and a serious threat to public safety. The defense, however, spoke of an accident and argued that the slogan on the flag was ambiguous.
The ruling provides information on how the judiciary is likely to apply the far-reaching security law. More than 100 people have already been arrested on the basis of the law. Beijing passed the law after sustained protests in China’s Special Administrative Region and calls for more democracy. It
is vaguely directed against activities seen as subversive, separatist, terrorist, or conspiratorial.
Since then it has served the authorities to increasingly take action against the democracy movement in the former crown colony. According to the agreements for the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the seven million Hong Kong residents are supposed to enjoy extensive autonomy and political freedom.