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Hong Kong activist jailed for trying to escape from China by speedboat



A Hong Kong-Chinese court sentenced ten Hong Kong activists to jail. They were arrested and fled the city by speedboat. The case has aroused international attention and aroused the opposition in the city.

The militants sentenced are a group of people called “Hong Kong 12”. These cases have become the focus of the pro-democracy movement, which is blocked by pandemic restrictions, protesters stay away from the streets, and a new law implemented by Beijing that allows authorities to prosecute people accused of threatening national security.


“They did not have proper legal representatives and were detained in secret for several months. The verdict was pronounced after the secret trial.”

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—Eddie Chu, a former democratic politician

Since the Chinese Coast Guard intercepted a speedboat heading to Taiwan in late August, family members and supporters of the pro-democracy movement have criticized the detention of these 12 people on the mainland. The families and lawyers they hired to represent human rights activists were not allowed to contact them. The defendants were appointed as lawyers from the mainland, and their trial was held in secret this week.

Eddie Chu, a pro-democratic politician, coordinated with families under the age of 12. He said: “They did not have proper legal representatives and were detained in secret for several months. The verdict was pronounced after a secret trial. “The entire legal process is just a joke, but it will bring serious consequences-we don’t even know how to appeal this sentence. “

The United States called for the release of militants earlier this week. The foreign diplomat tried to participate in the trial, but was not allowed to enter the court.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said after the verdict: “China’s judicial authorities handle cases strictly in accordance with the law.”

The court said that two of the 10 militants sentenced were Tang Kaiyin, 31, and Quinn Moon, 33, who were convicted for organizing an attempt to escape and were sentenced to three and two years in prison respectively. Mr. Tang was also fined 20,000 yuan (approximately US$3,000), and Ms. Moon was fined 15,000 yuan.

China passed the Hong Kong National Security Law, aimed at quelling anti-government protests after a year of unrest. Josh Chin of The Wall Street Journal explained why some countries criticized the law, and why critics said the law could threaten the city’s status as a global financial center. Image: May James / Zuma Press

The court said that the other eight people were sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment and fined 10,000 yuan, adding that they were all in court in the Yantian District Court of Shenzhen.

The remaining two were minors when they were arrested in August and were handed over to the Hong Kong Police Station on Wednesday. The prosecutor’s office and the Hong Kong police said that the Chinese prosecutors decided to abandon their case because they were minors and they pleaded guilty in another closed-door hearing.

The police said these 18 and 17-year-olds will continue to face charges in Hong Kong. The two were charged with arson for participating in last year’s protests. The police said that in September 2019, the older teenager was arrested in an operation along with four other people. The police found explosives in the apartment, while another young man was charged in the police in October last year. The bureau threw the Molotov cocktail.

The mother of Huang Weixian, who was sentenced to seven months in prison, said in a recorded message after the sentence that she hopes to arrange prison visits as soon as possible so that she can see her son. “Can I bring winter clothes to buy some food for my son? I’m begging the mainland [authorities] Tell us as soon as possible. “she says.

In October, the city’s police arrested nine people. They said they helped 12 activists escape. The Chinese court hinted in a statement issued on Wednesday that the actions of Mr. Tang and Ms. Wen were organized by other efforts. The lawyer hired by the defendant’s family members said, “They do not rule out the possibility of arresting more people.”

On Monday, the family of “Twelve-year-old Hong Kong” spoke to the media.


photo:

Miguel Candela/EPA/Shutterstock

Pro-democracy activists are trying to use these cases to revitalize the protest movement in Hong Kong, which was originally triggered by a now defunct bill that originally allowed the extradition of people to mainland China.

After this year’s National Security Law was passed, many Hong Kong democracy activists sought asylum, including former Congressmen Nathan Law, Ted Hui and Sixtus Leung.

Write to Joyu Wang is at joyu.wang@wsj.com

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