HONG KONG: A Hong Kong teenager was ordered to spend four months in prison on Tuesday for insulting China’s national flag and unlawful assembly as Beijing increasingly targets prominent activists from the financial hub.
Tony Chung, a 19-year-old who led a now-disbanded pro-democracy group, was convicted earlier this month for throwing the Chinese flag to the ground during scuffles outside Hong Kong’s legislature in May 2019.
While serving his sentence, Chung will be waiting for trial over a charge of “secession”, which could land him life imprisonment according to the draconian national security law Beijing imposed on Hong Kong on 30 June.
Chung is the first public political figure prosecuted under the new security law, which Beijing described as a “sword” to return “order and stability” to the financial hub after seven months of massive, often violent pro-democracy protests last year.
He was sentenced to three months each for insulting the national flag and unlawful assembly, and told to serve four months behind bars.
The teen is also facing separate charges of money laundering and conspiring to publish seditious content.
Chung was arrested by plainclothes police opposite the US consulate in late October and had been remanded in custody since. Speculation has swirled that the authorities moved on Chung because he was hoping to ask for asylum at the US consulate in Hong Kong.
Source: The News