First Man Charged Under Hong Kong Security Law Loses Release Bid

A Hong Kong court has upheld the detention of the first person charged under the new national security law, dealing an early blow to efforts to challenge the Beijing-drafted legislation.

The High Court dismissed an application by Tong Ying-kit, 23, to have his detention declared unlawful, local media including the South China Morning Post reported Friday. Tong has been detained since July 6, when he was charged with inciting secession and engaging in terrorism.

Justices Anderson Chow and Alex Lee ruled that Tong’s detention was lawful under the authority of the magistrate who remanded him to jail, the Post said. The judges also faulted Tong’s procedure for seeking release, the paper said. The court will hear his application for bail on Tuesday.

China’s top legislative body imposed the sweeping security law on the former British colony on June 30, in what authorities said was a bid to restore stability after a year of historically large and sometimes violent protests. Democracy advocates and rights lawyers have, among other complaints, expressed concern about provisions limiting bail, which they argue reverses the presumption of innocence otherwise enshrined in local laws.

While police have so far announced the arrest of 21 people under the law including media tycoon Jimmy Lai, Tong is the only person formally charged. The local waiter was arrested in connection with an incident during a July 1 protest against the law, in which a man rode a motorcycle into a group of police officers.

The motorcycle driver was displaying a banner reading “Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times,” a popular protest slogan that authorities say has been banned under the new law.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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