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Hong Kong Sentences Youngest Person to Date Under National Security Law | News | DW


Tony Chung, a 20-year-old former leader of the young independence group Hong Kong Student Localism, was sentenced Tuesday to 43 months in prison for secession and money laundering.

“He actively organized, planned and implemented activities to separate the country,” said Stanley Chan, the district court judge.

Chung had agreed to a plea bargain, admitting his guilt on a secession charge and one count of money laundering related to donations he received for his democracy and independence activism through the treatment site. PayPal payments.

In return for this plea, prosecutors agreed to drop the sedition charges and another count of money laundering, reducing his sentence by a quarter.

When Chung pleaded guilty earlier this month, he said he had “nothing to be ashamed of.”

Who is Tony Chung?

At the time of his arrest in October 2020, local media reported that plainclothes policemen took him along with two others as they sat in a cafe near the US consulate, while Chung was preparing a refugee claim.

He is now the youngest person to be sentenced under Hong Kong’s National Security Act which was introduced following pro-democracy protests in the city in 2019.

What is Hong Kong’s national security law?

Under the law, which entered into force in July 2020, authorities cracked down on dissent in the city, ending Hong Kong’s exceptional status under the “one country, two systems” principle that was agreed upon when it became a special administrative body. Region (SAR) of China in 1997.

Last month, Amnesty International announced plans to close its offices in Hong Kong by the end of the year due to the danger posed to its staff by the national security law.

Amnesty said the law meant that it was “impossible for human rights organizations to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government.”

The legislation was introduced in June 2020 and has broadly banned acts seen by Beijing as crimes of foreign collusion, terrorism, secessionism and subversion. More than 150 people have been arrested since the National Security Law came into effect, about half of whom have subsequently been charged.

Bail is often denied in cases, and guilty pleas allow defendants to reduce their sentences, as well as increase court costs.

Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing say the law is needed to restore stability following pro-democracy protests.

Curtain closed on Hong Kong closeup

When the law came into force, civil society organizations dissolved rather than have their members risk life in prison.

Hong Kong is a former British colony. In 1997, it returned to Chinese rule but with guarantees that rights and the rule of law in the city would be respected.

Pro-democracy activists and Western countries say China has violated these terms, which Beijing denies.

ar / jsi (AFP, Reuters)

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