Hong Kong student sentenced to 5 years in jail for sending pro-independence messages on Telegram

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An engineering college student from Hong Kong has been sentenced to five several years in jail for advocating the city’s independence from the Chinese Communist Party in his messages despatched on prompt messaging application Telegram.

Lui Sai-yu, a 25-year-aged undergraduate college student at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was charged with “incitement to secession” in April 2021 below the 2020 Beijing imposition of the countrywide security law.

Lui was at first sentenced to 3 yrs and 8 months by Decide Amanda Woodcock when his responsible plea diminished one particular third of his sentence nevertheless, it was enhanced to 5 yrs on Friday just after prosecutor Ivan Cheung argued his criminal offense was of a “severe character.” Woodcock was bound by Post 21 of the security regulation to sentence the university student to at the very least five decades.

The scholar was to start with arrested in September 2020 adhering to a law enforcement raid in his flat in Fanling. Law enforcement seized an extendable police baton, two armed service knives, a pepper ball launcher and protecting equipment.

In exchange for the prosecutors dropping two prices from his possession of firearms and offensive weapons, Liu pleaded guilty on Wednesday.

The prosecutor explained Liu co-managed the Telegram platform “Channel of Anti-Communism and Hong Kong Independence” to simply call for independence. Investigators identified additional than 1,000 offending messages despatched by Liu that bundled statements these types of as “Liberate Hong Kong revolution of our moments,” “Hong Kong independence, the only way out” and “Fight from totalitarianism.”

“By deciding on the forum of an open Telegram channel, the defendant and the other administrator meant to reach out to as numerous as attainable,” the decide explained. “This offense was dedicated throughout a time when there was social unrest and heightened anti-governing administration sentiment. In this context and in these kinds of a social local climate the offense aggravated the dangers of community and social problem.”

Liu’s attorney, Edwin Choy Wai-bond, is taking into consideration an attraction. He claimed that putting up on Telegram differs from talking in public, particularly given that his consumer is not a properly-acknowledged individual and only has restricted impact.

In a mitigation letter, Liu explained to the decide that his intention was to “let the voice of folks be listened to.” He referenced the 2019 Hong Kong protests, which was fueled by citizens’ worry of China getting rid of the freedoms promised to the island when it was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Authorities, however, say the law does not erode any freedoms and was intended to restore security following the protests.

“It was tough for an energetic and idealistic youthful person to continue to keep totally uninvolved,” Lui wrote. “My enjoy for Hong Kong was no a lot less than any one else’s.”

Lui is the fourth person to be jailed less than the 2020 national security regulation that criminalizes any functions of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with international or external forces with up to daily life imprisonment.

 

Featured Graphic by way of Handout by using SCMP

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