Police-ram motorcyclist in habeas corpus fight

Local | Carine Chow 5 Aug 2020

A young motorcyclist who is the first person to be prosecuted under the Beijing-imposed national security law has filed a writ of habeas corpus at the High Court.

Tong Ying-kit, 23, will argue his case at a hearing set for 2.30pm today before high court judge Anderson Chow Ka-ming.

Under the High Court Ordinance, he can file the writ if he believes he was detained without lawful justification. The court must inquire into the allegation of unlawful detention and the proceedings must be conducted in open court.

Bar Association chairman Philip Dykes, barrister Queenie Ng Wing-shan and Linda Wong Shui-hung represent Tong.

He faces one count of incitement of secession and another of engagement in terrorist activities as he is accused of crashing a motorcycle into police officers while carrying a flag deemed pro-independence, secessionist and subversive during protests on July 1, a day after the national security law came into effect. Anyone displaying the pro-independence slogan could be charged under the law.

The prosecution said Tong had neglected warnings and charged cordon lines three times. He stopped after hitting a group of around 10 police officers on Jaffe Road, three of whom were injured.

The secession charge said Tong, 23, incited others in Wan Chai near Hennessy Road to "organize, plan, commit or participate in acts" with a view to committing secession, changing the legal status of the SAR or undermining national unification.

The terrorism charge accused him of using or attempting to use serious violence to promote political beliefs by threatening authorities and jeopardizing security.

Tong was denied bail by chief magistrate Victor So Wai-tak, one of six magistrates chosen by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to oversee national security law cases in last month's hearing at the West Kowloon magistrates' court.

So said the decision was made under the requirements of Article 42 of the security law. The provision states that a judge should not grant bail to a defendant unless there are sufficient grounds to believe the suspect would not continue to commit acts that endanger national security.

According to Hong Kong's common law system, trials for serious cases usually involve a jury and there is no minimum sentence. But under the national security law, defendants are tried by a three-judge panel with minimum sentences of 10 years in severe instances.

The case was adjourned until October 6 after the prosecution said they needed more time to gather security and news footage.

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