CHINA IMPRISONS 10 HK ACTIVISTS FOR 3 YEARS FOR BORDER CROSSING
A Chinese court sentenced 10 Hong Kong activists to between seven months and three years in jail on Wednesday for illegally crossing the border, in a case that has drawn international attention and concern over the defendants’ treatment, David Kirton reported for Reuters.
The group had all faced charges in Hong Kong over anti-government protests in the Chinese-ruled city and they have been held virtually incommunicado in a mainland prison since their boat was intercepted on Aug. 23 after leaving Hong Kong, allegedly en route to the democratic island of Taiwan.
The court in the city of Shenzhen, which borders the semi-autonomous former British colony of Hong Kong, found eight of the defendants guilty of the illegal crossing and sentenced them to seven months in jail and a 10,000 yuan ($1,533) fine.
Tang Kai-Yin, 31, and Quinn Moon, 33, were found guilty of organizing an illegal border crossing and sentenced to three years and two years, respectively, with fines of 20,000 and 15,000 yuan.
The court said the pair had acted under the instruction of others, suggesting more arrests could follow.
The defendants’ family-appointed lawyers, who were denied access to their clients, rights groups and relatives criticized the legal process.
“We have to remember that they were locked up in China cut off from the world, their families and lawyers of their choosing for four months before attending a mock trial where only CCP-approved players were allowed in,” said Beatrice Li, the sister of Andy Li, 30, who was among those jailed, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
Rights group Amnesty International expressed concern over the safety of the defendants in the mainland prison system.
“This group of young Hongkongers will be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment in Chinese jails,” the group’s Asia-Pacific regional director, Yamini Mishra, said in a statement.