Hong Kong Student Jailed for 5 Years Under National Security Law

HONG KONG—A Hong Kong court on Friday increased a jail sentence to five years, in line with a Beijing-imposed national security law, for a student charged with “inciting secession.”Lui Sai-yu, 25, an engineering undergraduate at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was charged with inciting secession in April 2021 with messages on social media calling for “acts to be taken to unlawfully change the regime” in Hong Kong. He has been in detention since September 2020, after police raided his flat and found a pepper ball gun, meant for firing irritant powder for self-defense, an extendable police baton, two military knives, and protective gear. Judge Amanda Woodcock had originally sentenced him to 3 years and 8 months after his guilty plea led to a one third reduction. But prosecutor Ivan Cheung said the crime Lui committed was of a serious nature and must fall within sentencing guidelines in the security legislation. Woodcock then increased it to 5 years. Lui’s lawyer, Edwin Choy, told Reuters they were considering an appeal. Other charges for possession of firearms and offensive weapons were dropped, according to the judgement. The court heard that Lui had posted messages like “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” and “Hong Kong independence. The only way out,” which were protest slogans during pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019. Protesters chant slogans during a rally against Beijing’s new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020. (Dale de la Rey/AFP via Getty Images) But Choy said posting on Telegram was different to speaking in public or to the media, and Lui was not a well-known person and had only limited influence. Lui himself had told the judge in a mitigation letter that his original intention was to let the voice of people be heard. “It was difficult for an energetic and idealistic young man to keep completely uninvolved,” Lui wrote, referring to the 2019 protests, fueled in part by fears among some people that the Chinese communist regime was eroding freedoms promised to Hong Kong when the former British colony was handed back to Chinese rule in 1997. “My love for Hong Kong was no less than anyone else’s.” Lui became the fourth person jailed under the 2020 security law that punishes so-called subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces, and terrorist acts with up to life imprisonment. The first, former waiter Tong Ying-kit, was jailed for nine years. Critics say the national security law erodes the freedoms promised by the Chinese regime under a “one country, two systems” formula when the city was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Follow

Hong Kong Student Jailed for 5 Years Under National Security Law

HONG KONG—A Hong Kong court on Friday increased a jail sentence to five years, in line with a Beijing-imposed national security law, for a student charged with “inciting secession.”

Lui Sai-yu, 25, an engineering undergraduate at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was charged with inciting secession in April 2021 with messages on social media calling for “acts to be taken to unlawfully change the regime” in Hong Kong.

He has been in detention since September 2020, after police raided his flat and found a pepper ball gun, meant for firing irritant powder for self-defense, an extendable police baton, two military knives, and protective gear.

Judge Amanda Woodcock had originally sentenced him to 3 years and 8 months after his guilty plea led to a one third reduction.

But prosecutor Ivan Cheung said the crime Lui committed was of a serious nature and must fall within sentencing guidelines in the security legislation. Woodcock then increased it to 5 years.

Lui’s lawyer, Edwin Choy, told Reuters they were considering an appeal.

Other charges for possession of firearms and offensive weapons were dropped, according to the judgement.

The court heard that Lui had posted messages like “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” and “Hong Kong independence. The only way out,” which were protest slogans during pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019.

Epoch Times Photo
Protesters chant slogans during a rally against Beijing’s new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020. (Dale de la Rey/AFP via Getty Images)

But Choy said posting on Telegram was different to speaking in public or to the media, and Lui was not a well-known person and had only limited influence.

Lui himself had told the judge in a mitigation letter that his original intention was to let the voice of people be heard.

“It was difficult for an energetic and idealistic young man to keep completely uninvolved,” Lui wrote, referring to the 2019 protests, fueled in part by fears among some people that the Chinese communist regime was eroding freedoms promised to Hong Kong when the former British colony was handed back to Chinese rule in 1997.

“My love for Hong Kong was no less than anyone else’s.”

Lui became the fourth person jailed under the 2020 security law that punishes so-called subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces, and terrorist acts with up to life imprisonment.

The first, former waiter Tong Ying-kit, was jailed for nine years.

Critics say the national security law erodes the freedoms promised by the Chinese regime under a “one country, two systems” formula when the city was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997.


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