HONG KONG—The primary particular person charged below the nationwide safety regulation in Hong Kong pleaded not responsible as his trial started on Wednesday, virtually a yr after he was accused of driving his bike into officers at a rally whereas carrying a flag with a protest slogan.
The case of Tong Ying-kit is seen as a departure from Hong Kong’s widespread regulation traditions, as he was denied bail and a jury, and a check of the federal government’s declare that the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our occasions” is secessionist.
Tong, 24, was arrested on July 1, 2020, hours after the enactment of the nationwide safety regulation, which punishes what China deems as subversion, secessionism, terrorism and collusion with overseas forces with as much as life in jail.
Tong faces costs of terrorism and inciting secession, in addition to another cost of harmful driving inflicting grievous bodily hurt, which may result in as much as seven years in jail. He pleaded not responsible to all costs.
Tong has been denied bail. Hong Kong’s widespread regulation has historically allowed defendants to hunt launch until prosecutors can present lawful grounds for his or her detention. Beneath the brand new regulation, the burden is now positioned on the defendant to show they won’t break the regulation if launched on bail.
On Tuesday, the Court docket of Enchantment upheld a call to disclaim Tong a trial by jury, citing a risk to the non-public security of jurors and their members of the family.
His trial will likely be held by a panel of three judges as a substitute: Esther Toh, Anthea Pang and Wilson Chan.
Hong Kong’s Judiciary describes trial by jury as one of the vital vital options of town’s authorized system, a standard regulation custom designed to supply defendants further safety in opposition to the opportunity of authorities overreaching their energy.
Article 46 of the safety regulation—drafted by Beijing, the place courts are managed by the Communist Social gathering and conviction charges are near 100%—states three cases by which juries may be scrapped: defending state secrets and techniques, circumstances involving overseas forces and defending jurors’ security.
By Sara Cheng