Hong Kong’s first prosecution under the national security law for publicly chanting pro-independence slogans has been launched against a former food delivery worker.
Adam Ma Chun-man, 30, was on Tuesday accused of incitement to commit secession at West Kowloon Court, following his arrest on Sunday evening.
He was not required to enter a plea as the prosecution asked for extra time to investigate.
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After Chief Magistrate Victor So Wai-tak ordered him to be remanded in custody, Ma chanted in the dock: “The fruits of democracy are obtained through blood and sweat.”
Ma, who became jobless last month, was said to have intended to commit secession or undermine national unification by separating Hong Kong from mainland China, or altering the city’s legal status by unlawful means.
Anthony Chau Tin-hang, senior assistant director of public prosecutions, said Ma had repeatedly chanted slogans which promoted the city’s independence at 10 different locations between August 15 and November 22. He did not disclose the contents of the slogans in court.
Hong Kong police’s national security department would need to make further inquiries, including collecting relevant security footage, examining the defendant’s five mobile phones, and taking witness statements, Chau added.
Magistrate So, one of those designated to hear national security cases, turned down Ma’s bail application after reviewing the prosecution’s allegations and referring to a no-bail provision in the Beijing-imposed law, which states it should only be granted to defendants who are no longer a threat to national security.
Ma is the third person charged under the legislation – which criminalises acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with external forces – since its enactment on June 30.
The first defendant, Tong Ying-kit, was charged with inciting secession and terrorism for allegedly driving his motorcycle into a group of police officers, while carrying a flag calling for the city’s liberation, during a July 1 demonstration. He will stand trial at the High Court.
Last month, activist Tony Chung Hon-lam, who founded the now-defunct Studentlocalism group, was charged with secession, money laundering and conspiring to publish seditious content.
Both Tong and Chung have been denied bail.