Hong Kong, July 27 (ANI): A Hong Kong court on Tuesday found a man guilty in the city's first-ever trial under the Beijing-imposed national security law.
Tong Ying-kit, 24, was convicted of committing incitement to secession and he could face up to life imprisonment, Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.
The activist had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Tuesday's ruling will likely set a precedent for upcoming national security cases.
Tong was arrested in July 2020 after he rammed a motorcycle into three policemen during a demonstration. According to HKFP, Tong is the first person to be found guilty of breaching the controversial security legislation, which also outlaws subversion and collusion with foreign powers.
"To convict Tong Ying-kit of 'secession' for displaying a flag bearing a widely used political slogan is a violation of international law, under which expression must not be criminalized unless it poses a concrete threat. This feels like the beginning of the end for freedom of expression in Hong Kong," said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Regional Director.
This conviction comes as draconian Beijing-imposed national security law, introduced to smother dissent and free speech in Hong Kong, has completed over one year, leaving the once British-controlled region in turmoil and chaos.
The law criminalises any act of secession (breaking away from China), subversion (undermining the power or authority of the central government), terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison.
Most Hong Kongers are doubtful about their future under the Chinese imposed national security law which has left a "chilling effect" on people of the territory since its passage in June 2020, according to reports.
Over 60 per cent of people expressed doubts about their future under the draconian law which was imposed in June last year, Taipei Times reported. (ANI)