A man who repeatedly chanted pro-independence slogans last year has been convicted of inciting secession, becoming the second person to be found guilty under Hong Kong's national security law.
The defence had argued that by chanting things like "Hong Kong independence, the only way out", Ma Chun-man, 31, had only set out to prove that the security legislation would not be used to outlaw speech.
But District Court judge Stanley Chan ruled that Ma, dubbed “Captain America 2.0”, had advocated independence for Hong Kong on 20 occasions between August and November 2020.
Chan noted that Ma insisted he had merely exercised his freedom of speech, as guaranteed under the Basic Law, but said the defendant had disregarded a major principle of the Basic Law: that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China.
The judge added that even though few people responded to Ma's chants, this didn't mean there was no incitement.
"The defendant’s various actions and speeches over a period of time ... indicated clearly that he had every intention to incite others to follow his ideas and to push for the independence of Hong Kong... The intention of the person incited is irrelevant. Nor is the prosecution required to prove that the incitee indeed carried out the offence incited," Chan said.
Sentencing was adjourned to November 11. Ma faces up to seven years in prison.
Tong Ying-kit, the first person convicted under the national security law, was in July jailed for nine years after he drove a motorbike into a group of police officers while carrying a "Liberate Hong Kong" flag last year. The High Court ruled that Tong
was a terrorist who had incited Hongkongers to split the city from the rest of China.