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Hong Kong Denies Bail to First Defendant Under China's New Security Law

Tong Ying-kit, 23, arrives at a court in a police van in Hong Kong, July 6, 2020.
Tong Ying-kit, 23, arrives at a court in a police van in Hong Kong, July 6, 2020.

The first person arrested under Hong Kong’s new security law was denied bail Monday.

Tong Ying-kit, 23, was arrested last week carrying a sign that read “Liberate Hong Kong” and allegedly drove his motorbike into police.

Tong was unable to appear in court Friday because of injuries sustained from the incident, but appeared Monday in a wheelchair and was charged with inciting secession and engaging in terrorism.

Under article 42 of the new security law imposed by China, a judge may deny bail if they have sufficient reason to believe the defendant would continue to endanger national security.

Tong’s next hearing has been scheduled for October 6.

Hong Kong police said last week that 370 people were arrested at a July 1 demonstration which had previously been banned.

July 1 marked the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China. It was also the first day of the official implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong.

The new law carries severe penalties for vaguely defined crimes against the state, effectively ending many of the special freedoms that citizens of the territory long enjoyed. Since 1997, Hong Kong has operated under a “One Country, Two Systems” model with mainland China, enjoying some level of autonomy.

Hong Kong saw months of pro-democracy protests, many of them turning violent, in 2019. The protests were initially provoked by a controversial extradition bill that eventually evolved into a demand for greater democracy for the city.

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