Tony Chung, a 20-year-old former chief of Hong Kong pro-independence youth group Student Localism, has been sentenced to 43 months in jail on costs of secession and cash laundering.
“He actively organised, planned and implemented activities to separate the country,” mentioned Stanley Chan, the district courtroom decide.
Chung had accepted a plea discount, admitting guilt to 1 cost of secession and one depend of cash laundering tied to donations he had acquired for his pro-democracy and pro-independence activism by means of the fee processing web site PayPal.
In change for the plea, prosecutors agreed to drop costs of sedition and one other depend of cash laundering, thus decreasing his sentence by 1 / 4.
When Chung pleaded responsible earlier this month, he mentioned he had “nothing to be ashamed of.”
Who is Tony Chung?
At the time of his arrest in October 2020, native media reported plainclothes policemen took him and two others away as they sat in a espresso store close to the US consulate. Chung had been getting ready an asylum utility.
Chung is now the youngest individual to be convicted underneath Hong Kong’s nationwide safety regulation, which was launched following pro-democracy protests in 2019.
What is Hong Kong’s nationwide safety regulation?
Under the regulation, which got here into impact in July 2020, authorities have clamped down on dissent within the metropolis, successfully placing an finish to Hong Kong’s distinctive standing underneath the “one country, two systems” precept that was agreed when it grew to become a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China in 1997.
Last month, Amnesty International mentioned it planed to shut its places of work in Hong Kong by the tip of this yr due to the hazard posed to its employees by the regulation.
Amnesty mentioned the regulation meant it was “impossible for human rights organisations to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government.”
The laws was launched in June 2020 and broadly outlawed acts deemed by Beijing to be crimes of overseas collusion, terrorism, secessionism and subversion. More than 150 individuals have been arrested because the nationwide safety regulation got here into impact, with round half of these subsequently charged.
Bail is usually denied in such circumstances, and defendants can scale back their sentences by means of responsible pleas.
Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing have mentioned the regulation is critical to revive stability following pro-democracy protests.
Activists say China has violated Hong Kong’s freedoms
As the regulation got here into impact, civil society organizations disbanded moderately than see members face attainable life in jail.
Hong Kong is a former British colony. In 1997, it was returned to Chinese rule however with ensures that rights and rule of regulation within the metropolis can be revered.
Pro-democracy activists and Western nations have mentioned China has violated these phrases, one thing Beijing has denied.