Chinese and Hong Kong flags are pictured exterior a shopping mall, in advance of the Chinese National Working day, in Hong Kong, China. September 28, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

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HONG KONG, April 29 (Reuters) – A Hong Kong courtroom on Friday elevated a jail sentence to five a long time, in line with a China-imposed national stability regulation, for a college student who named for independence from China in posts on the Telegram messaging support.

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

He has been in detention considering the fact that September 2020, immediately after police raided his flat and discovered a pepper ball gun, intended for firing irritant powder for self-defence, an extendable law enforcement baton, two navy knives and protective equipment.

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Choose Amanda Woodcock had originally sentenced him to 3 several years and 8 months following his guilty plea led to a 1 third reduction.

But prosecutor Ivan Cheung reported the crime Lui fully commited was of a major character and will have to fall inside of sentencing recommendations in the protection legislation. Woodcock then increased it to 5 decades.

Lui’s attorney, Edwin Choy, instructed Reuters they had been contemplating an attraction.

Other fees for possession of firearms and offensive weapons were being dropped, in accordance to the judgement.

The courtroom heard that Lui experienced posted messages like “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” and “Hong Kong independence. The only way out”, which ended up protest slogans in the course of pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019.

But Choy stated putting up on Telegram was various to talking in community or to the media, and Lui was not a very well-identified person and had only constrained influence.

Lui himself had told the judge in a mitigation letter that his unique intention was to permit the voice of people today be read.

“It was challenging for an energetic and idealistic youthful male to preserve completely uninvolved”, Lui wrote, referring to the 2019 protests, fuelled in part by fears between some folks that China was eroding freedoms promised to Hong Kong when the former British colony was handed again in 1997.

“My really like for Hong Kong was no a lot less than any person else’s.”

Hong Kong’s governing administration and China deny any erosion of freedoms in the metropolis.

Lui turned the fourth particular person jailed underneath the 2020 stability regulation that punishes subversion, secession, collusion with overseas forces and terrorist acts with up to everyday living imprisonment.

The very first, previous waiter Tong Ying-kit, was jailed for 9 years.

Critics say the regulation erodes the freedoms promised by China beneath a “just one country, two systems” components when the town was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Chinese and Hong Kong authorities say the law was desired to restore balance just after the 2019 protests.

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Reporting by Jessie Pang Enhancing by James Pomfret, Robert Birsel

Our Specifications: The Thomson Reuters Believe in Principles.

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