The first person to be charged under Hong Kong’s controversial national security law has been found guilty in a landmark ruling on Tuesday.
Tong Ying-kit was found guilty of inciting secession and terrorism after riding a motorbike into police officers and flying a flag calling for Hong Kong’s “liberation”.
More than 100 people have been arrested since the law came into force in 2019.
It reduces Hong Kong’s autonomy and makes it easier to punish activists.
Tuesday’s verdict, which is the culmination of a 15-day trial, means Tong could face life in jail. His sentencing is due at a later date.
Tong was arrested in July last year, after he rammed a motorcycle displaying a protest flag with the phrase “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” into police officers.
During the sentencing, Justice Toh said the phrase was capable of inciting others to commit secession, local outlet HKFP reported.
Justice Toh had added that Tong understood the slogan carried a secessionist meaning – implying the separation of Hong Kong from the Chinese mainland.
Beijing insists that the widely criticized law, which came after a series of mass pro-democracy protests in 2019, is needed to bring stability to the city.
Monday’s ruling sets the tone for how future cases under the law might be interpreted.