October 19, 2021


Let'S Talk Law

1st countrywide stability scenario in HK arms down 9-year sentence, sets sturdy precedent for radicals

Tong Ying-kit Picture: Ta Kung Pao

Leon Tong Ying-package, the initially man or woman to be convicted beneath the countrywide security legislation for Hong Kong Unique Administrative Region (HKSAR), was sentenced to 9 years in prison thanks to separatism and terrorist actions, which was hailed by legal professionals as a combination of deterrence and reasonable penalties, location an example for forthcoming nationwide safety-linked scenarios.

Tong, 24, was convicted of terrorism and inciting secessionism. On July 1, 2020, just one day soon after the legislation took effort and hard work, Tong rammed a black bike into a team of Hong Kong law enforcement officers, carrying a banner with the slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Occasions.”

The Substantial Court docket of HKSAR pointed out that the minimum amount sentence for inciting other individuals to break up the nation was 6.5 decades in jail, and the minimal sentence for terrorism was eight a long time in prison, Hong Kong media claimed. 

The court dominated that 2.5 many years of the eight-yr sentence for terrorism should really be carried out in installments with the 6.5-12 months sentence for inciting secessionism, and the rest of the sentences ought to be executed concurrently, so the final nine-12 months sentence was presented.  

As the 1st conviction below the countrywide stability regulation for Hong Kong, which was applied on June 30, 2020, assisting restore social stability soon after months-extended social turmoil which turned into a color revolution, the sentencing completely underscored the require for deterrence and the legal fairness, legal industry experts explained, noting that it also has the guiding importance for potential instances as reference. 

“The sentencing affirmed the authority of the nationwide safety law for Hong Kong and exerted the energy of the legislation, laying out a solid basis for potential regulation enforcement and taking part in out the deterrence influence amid anti-China rioters,” Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Affiliation of Hong Kong and Macao Research, told the International Instances on Friday. 

It also shows that judicial establishments in Hong Kong could shoulder the accountability of safeguarding countrywide safety, he claimed. 

Police officers stand guard as a prison truck carrying Tong Ying-kit leaves a court on Friday. Tong was sentenced to nine years in prison for separatism and terrorist activities. Photo: AP

Police officers stand guard as a prison truck carrying Tong Ying-package leaves a court docket on Friday. Tong was sentenced to 9 a long time in jail for separatism and terrorist actions. Photograph: AP

Honest sentencing sets starting off level 

At about 9 am on Friday, some spectators lined up at the court and dozens of law enforcement officers have been stationed outside the house the High Court docket at midday. Nevertheless, no counter-terrorism law enforcement were being sighted, local media documented. 

Right before the sentencing, some Hong Kong patriotic organizations and citizens held up symptoms and banners outside the court docket, reading through “Secession ought to be severely punished,” and “Severely punish terrorist routines and put an conclusion to secession.”

The sentencing arrived just after three judges attained a determination in the to start with 15-day trial beneath the countrywide security legislation for Hong Kong. Tong was found guilty of inciting secession and terrorism on Tuesday. 

In the verdict on Tuesday, the decide reported exhibiting the flag with “Liberate” slogan would have incited other folks to have interaction in secession acts, and the defendant experienced comprehended the information. The defendant intentionally ran by law enforcement checkpoints on a motorbike and crashed into three police officers, severely endangering the community and local community. 

Tong’s attorneys pleaded on Thursday that Tong had only shown the flag, and that there was no evidence that anyone was impacted and he was not requesting international sanctions to Hong Kong officers. As for crashing into law enforcement officers on a bike, his attorneys reported Tong was reckless in driving but not intentionally assaulting the officers and need to be sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison.  

“The sentencing is good and satisfactory after getting into account the context, qualifications and circumstance of the act, which also embodies the have to have for deterrence, setting the setting up stage for these two significant offenses,” Lawrence Ma, barrister and chairman at Hong Kong Authorized Trade Basis, told the Global Times on Friday.

We think about that this total time period should really sufficiently replicate the defendant’s culpability in the two offenses and the abhorrence of modern society, and at the same time, achieve the deterrent effect expected, the judges explained in a sentencing document noticed by the International Times. 

Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee from Hong Kong, instructed the Worldwide Moments on Friday that following the sentencing was declared, it can ship a warning hopefully to stop and reduce relevant actions. “If a person nevertheless makes an attempt to challenge the countrywide security regulation, he will bear prison tasks,” he reported. 

As elements for taking into consideration the sentence, the judges claimed the date of July 1, 2020 was of specific importance as it was the 1st day of the implementation of the national protection regulation for Hong Kong. Because the onset of Hong Kong’s “legislative modification turmoil” in 2019, anti-China forces trying to find to disrupt Hong Kong have blatantly advocated these types of notions as “Hong Kong independence,” “self-dedication” and “referendum,” and engaged in things to do to undermine nationwide unity and split the region.

Authorized authorities explained that Tong’s camp ignored the political sensitivity of the unique time and the significance of legislation and get by displaying the slogans of Hong Kong secessionism in general public and attracting the interest of the general public and media by hitting police is instantly.  

“It is also a negation and contempt of the constitutional get of the HKSAR and the legal authority of the national security legislation for Hong Kong,” Tian Feilong, a member of the Beijing-based Chinese Affiliation of Hong Kong and Macao Experiments, advised the International Times on Friday.  

The legislative intention of the national protection law also incorporates stringent legal definition and envisioned punishment for equivalent text and deeds, and the sentencing was a demonstration of the judge’s professionalism, Tian noted. 

Next the sentencing, Hong Kong safety secretary Chris Tang told media on Friday that a resident who abides by the law would not want to endanger national protection, will not unreasonably utter slogans related to “Hong Kong independence,” exhibiting the deterrence result of the initially case.

Hong Kong File photo

Hong Kong File photograph

Uncertainties dismissed Some international media stores and observers highlighted the so-referred to as controversy more than the nationwide safety legislation for Hong Kong, indicating the initially case was sentenced as the Chinese government tightened controls, and elevating doubts about the rule of regulation and judicial independence of Hong Kong less than the legislation. 

“Some rumors these as Beijing is powering the sentencing or threatening judges all through the legal processes arrived up as people media shops could not come across any position to attack China specified the integrity and demanding legal technique, and that judges have absolutely communicated in advance of the sentencing, which are all in line with the law,” Lawrence Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Experiments, told the World Situations. 

According to the countrywide safety law for Hong Kong, a particular person can be sentenced to a most of 10 yrs in prison for inciting, assisting in or abetting secession. A man or woman who organizes, designs, commits, participates in or threatens to commit terrorist actions in a grave mother nature can confront lifetime imprisonment.

“The judges mentioned it is really not the worst circumstance nonetheless, and they also gave distinct causes with no issue to be doubted,” Tang claimed.

According to the Hong Kong Law enforcement Drive, after the verdict was handed down at 3 pm Tuesday, a judiciary worker received a cellphone get in touch with at all over 5 pm from a gentleman who referred to as a person of the three judges, Esther Toh Lye-ping, a pet dog choose, and claimed he would start a bomb assault on her. 

The person also undermined the other two judges, saying he would also blast them or slash them with a knife.

“Judges had to manage scenarios in accordance with the legislation and proof without having any intervention,” stated the Division of Justice in a late-night time statement around the incident on Tuesday.

About complaints that the sentence could possibly be light as opposed with some terrorists sentenced to lifestyle imprisonment in other international locations, Ma said one particular can not choose the correctness of a sentence by basically examining the label and expressing all terrorist offenders will have to get a life sentence.

One has to decide by carefully analyzing the specifics and circumstance of each and every unique circumstance, even if they are all charged under the same offense, to make your mind up how a great deal sentence is acceptable, he additional.

“Though the sentence is not a Court docket of Charm determination [where it is usually for the Court of Appeal to set the sentencing guideline], it is a determination by 3 Higher Court judges,” Ma included, even more declaring it also confirmed that the 3 judges have a deeper being familiar with of the history of the legislature and its genuine intentions. 

The verdict will provide an important reference for similar situations, he explained, as the deterrent effect will not only punish Tong for committing the crime but also make the community fully grasp that secession is a significant crime, which indicates they are unable to shout, spread or print identical messages that counsel “Hong Kong independence.”

In conditions of proof, bail, conviction, sentencing, and interpretation of the provisions of the nationwide safety law and Hong Kong’s frequent law judicial procedures, it has fashioned preliminary judicial working experience of standardization and in techniques, which will be beneficial to other nationwide safety judges in the long run, the professional stated.

The sentencing is a powerful disciplinary critique of Hong Kong’s radical social motion and its destruction of the rule of law, which will help guidebook Hong Kong culture, primarily the younger people today, to form a proper check out of the rule of legislation and justice, Tian explained. 

Judges in Hong Kong will also choose it as an option to much more properly have an understanding of, interpret and safeguard the constitutional get of the HKSAR and the legislative spirit of the nationwide stability law, so that the judiciary in Hong Kong will become the rational and mindful guardian of the “a single state, two systems,” he included.