A Hong Kong court has again denied bail to the first man charged under the new national security law on Tuesday, citing a risk of flight and possibility of recommitting offences.

The High Court refused to grant bail to 23-year-old Tong Ying-kit, who stands accused of inciting secession and terrorist activities after he allegedly rammed a motorcycle displaying a protest flag into three police officers in Wan Chai on July 1, according to the Department of Justice.

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File photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

The flag displayed by Tong featured the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” which – a day after Tong’s arrest – the government claimed was pro-independence, secessionist and subversive. The frequently chanted slogan was hence criminalised under the sweeping security legislation that also bans collusion with foreign forces.

Justice Alex Lee said in the ruling that, having considered Tong’s personal background and his ties to Hong Kong, the court would refuse bail because of “flight risk” and “risk of re-offending.” But the detailed explanations for such a conclusion were redacted in the ruling.

“General speaking, the reasons for refusing bail should be brief. This judgement is longer than usual because of the importance of this case as the first of its kind under the national security law,” Lee wrote.

Tong was among the 370 arrested on the 23rd anniversary of the city’s handover to China, when thousands of Hongkongers defied a police ban to march in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai in opposition to the newly enforced national security law.

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Police arrest demonstrators on July 1, 2020. Photo: May James/HKFP.

Tong has been detained since July 6, after the West Kowloon Magistrate denied bail for the motorcyclist. Chief Magistrate Victor So cited Article 42 of the national security law which  stipulates that the judge shall not grant bail to a criminal suspect, unless they have sufficient grounds to believe that the defendant would not continue to commit acts endangering national security.

Last Friday, Tong’s application for a writ of habeas corpus was dismissed by the High Court, which ruled that his current detention was lawful. The defendant will remain in custody pending the next hearing scheduled on October 6.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.