HK duo given 5 years’ jail for inciting subversion

A Hong Kong judge today sentenced two pro-independence groups to five years in prison, stressing that there will be no tolerance for advocating violent opposition to China.

Choi Wing Kit, 21, and Chris Chan, 26, are among the popular student-led group Returning Valiant, which uses social media and street kiosks to call for the overthrow of the Beijing regime. They have pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to incite lawlessness”, under national security laws introduced by Beijing after massive pro-democracy protests in 2019.

The law changed the country, putting an end to its noisy culture of protest and filling the courts with dissenters. Valiant’s returning lawsuit is the second largest under the Securities Act.

Of the 13 members charged with subversion or terrorism, 11 were high school students. Today Judge Kwok Wai Kin said the group had ‘instigated a bloodbath without any reason to overthrow the current government’.

This idea is not allowed in any country,” Kwok said. Choi and Chan’s decision comes after the high court ruled that serious crimes against national security are punishable by a minimum of five years in prison.

Kwok found that the couple’s mistake was very serious because the former was the founder of the team and the latter was an English actor who tried to promote their idea to the international team. In another case, Choi was sentenced to six months in prison for “possession of a weapon,” a truncheon.

In October, five returnees under the age of 21 became the first children to be sentenced under the Protection Act. During their trial, they said they were motivated by the French Revolution and Ukraine’s struggle for democratization.

The case of their imprisonment in a training center raised the concern of the United Nations Human Rights Office. Authorities have filed separate terrorism charges against seven other members of Returning Valiant for the alleged bomb plot, and police are accusing them of attempting to carry out a major TATP explosion.

They are serving life in prison and will return to court in May.

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