Zhong Hanlin, the former convener of the “Hong Kong Independence” organization “Student Dynamics”, was charged with secession and other crimes. If found guilty, he will face a minimum of three years to a maximum of life imprisonment.
The police cited the Hong Kong National Security Act to prosecute the 19-year-old Zhong Hanlin for “secession of the country”. Furthermore, two other crimes for “handling property known or believed to represent the benefit of an indictable crime” (commonly known as “money laundering”). And a crime of “conspiracy to publish seditious publications”. The court agreed to the prosecution’s request to adjourn the case until January 7, 2021. So that the prosecution can further investigate the case.
An organization called “Friends of Hong Kong” stated that Zhong Hanlin was seeking asylum at the US consulate. Amnesty International criticized Hong Kong police for arresting Zhong Hanlin for political motives.
Moreover, the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong stated that it had no comment on BBC Chinese. “Student Dongyuan US Branch” stated on social media that the four were not members of the organization.
On June 30, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China passed the “Hong Kong National Security Law”. Moreover, handed it over to Hong Kong for promulgation and enforcement. The Chief Executive Carrie Lam signed the law on the same day and it became effective immediately.
A few hours before the promulgation of the “Hong Kong National Security Law,” a number of youth political organizations, including “Student Momentum”, announced their dissolution. Among them, “Student Dynamics” announced the dissolution of the Hong Kong headquarters, but established a number of overseas branches such as the US branch.
Application for bail rejected
Zhong Hanlin is one of the magistrates appointed by Chief Executive, Carrie Lam to hear national security cases under the Hong Kong National Security Law.
The prosecution cited Article 20 of the law, accusing Zhong Hanlin of actively organizing, planning, implementing, or participating in actions aimed at splitting the country. Moreover, undermining national unity in Hong Kong from July 1 to October 27 this year. The Special Administrative Region is separated from China, or the legal status of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is illegally changed.
One of the crimes of “money laundering” accused Zhong Hanlin of holding an online payment platform PayPal account in Hong Kong from January 19, 2018, to July 29, 2020. Processing the account with a total value of HK$133,417.69 (US$17,200; 11.55) In another case, he was accused of holding an HSBC bank account in Hong Kong from August 27, 2019, to July 29, 2020, and processed the total value of the account at 564,318.19 Hong Kong dollars (72,800 US dollars; 488,300 RMB) deposits. The prosecution believed that the above two payments were the proceeds of crime.
Furthermore, the remaining “conspiracy to publish seditious publications” accused Zhong Hanlin of conspiring to publish seditious publications in Hong Kong between November 30, 2018, and June 9, 2020, “inspiring Hong Kong residents’ attempts Failure to follow legal channels to cause changes to other legally formulated matters in Hong Kong”.
Former convener of the “Hong Kong Independence” organization “Student Dynamics”
The prosecution lawyer pointed out that the case also involved other suspects. The police will examine the defendant’s mobile phone, computer, and search for evidence such as bank statements. Also, they will check the information he posted on the online platform.
Suspected of violating the Hong Kong National Security Act. All are former members of “Student Mobilization”.
On July 29 this year, they and another former member of the “Student Mobilization” became the first batch of political criminal suspects arrested by the Hong Kong police after active investigations under the law.
In addition, Joshua Rosenzweig, director of Amnesty International’s China Studies team, commented that the prosecution of student activist Zhong Hanlin has taken the continued suppression of human rights in Hong Kong to a new level.
Moreover, Luo Zhuhua said, “There are reports that the Hong Kong police will set up a hotline to collect information from the public. This is about persons who intend to violate the Hong Kong National Security Act. Under this situation, the atmosphere of fear in the market is becoming more and more suppressed.”
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