Lawyer for Hong Kong protester asks court for shorter term

·1 min read

HONG KONG (AP) — A lawyer for the first person convicted under Hong Kong’s national security law asked Thursday for no more than 10 years in prison instead of the possible life sentence faced by the former restaurant waiter in a closely watched case as China tries to crush a pro-democracy movement.

Tong Ying-kit was convicted Tuesday of inciting secession and terrorism for driving his motorcycle into a group of police officers during a July 1, 2020, pro-democracy rally while carrying a flag bearing the banned slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”

Tong, 24, will be sentenced Friday, the Hong Kong High Court announced.

The ruling Communist Party imposed the security law on the former British colony last year following anti-government protests that erupted in mid-2019. All of the territory's leading pro-democracy figures have been jailed under other laws.

At a hearing, Tong’s lead defense lawyer, Clive Grossman, asked for a sentence of no more than 10 years. He said the court hadn’t found the attack was deliberate, no one was injured and Tong’s secession-related offense qualified as minor under the law.

Prosecutor Ivan Cheung asked for a minimum of three years.

Judge Anthea Pang said the court will follow the “usual statutory term” and legal interpretations of the national security law but gave no indication what that might be.

The Associated Press

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