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(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Eight activists detained at sea as they tried to flee Hong Kong by speedboat have finished serving jail sentences in China and have been returned home but may face further prosecution #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.24: Pro-democracy activist Andy Li was the first of the group to be returned to the city after serving a seven-month prison sentence, according to an anonymous police source:

Eight Hong Kong activists jailed in Shenzhen returned home & immediately handed over to authorities in Hong Kong, where they could face further prosecution under tough new security laws ……’The group of eight activists, aged 19 to 31, had been jailed in the southern city of Shenzhen, and returned to Hong Kong in batches, according to a police statement’

Posted Yesterday at 1:22pm, updated Yesterday at 4:25pm

A man with his head covered in a black bag is handcuffed and led towards a police car by two facemasked men.
One of the 12 Hong Kong activists arrives at Tin Shui Wai police station from Shenzhen.(Reuters: Lam Yik)

The eight men are part of a larger group of 12 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists and protesters who were detained at sea in August last year during an ill-fated attempt to reach self-ruled Taiwan.

Many of them were facing prosecution in Hong Kong due to their involvement in anti-government protests that began in mid-2019.

A white-haired man hold a colourful sign in front of a line of police officers in front of a building.
Pro-democracy supporters are calling for the release of all Hong Kong activists.(Reuters: Lam Yik)

One had been arrested on suspicion of collusion with a foreign country to endanger national security.

They were convicted by a Shenzhen court of illegally crossing the maritime border and sentenced to seven-month jail terms.

While Hong Kong is part of China, travellers must still pass through immigration when going to and from the mainland, which surrounds Hong Kong by land and sea.

A middle-aged Asian woman in face mask gives a peace sign and holds up a white certificate in a medical clinic.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam received her second COVID vaccine as the activists returned from Shenzhen.(Reuters)

Hong Kong police said in a statement that the suspects were returned to the city after the completion of legal proceedings by mainland authorities.
 
Two of the defendants, Quinn Moon and Tang Kai-yin, remain in prison on sentences of two years or more,  for organising an illegal border crossing. 
 
Two detainees who were not charged on the mainland because they were younger than 18 at the time of the arrest were handed over to Hong Kong authorities last December.

The activists returned on a day that Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam — criticised for being too pro-Beijing —  received a second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine and urged residents to get the jab so they could return to normal lives.

So far, more than 350,000 people have been given the first shot in Hong Kong and the second doses will begin to be administered this week.Loading

Beijing and Hong Kong authorities have taken a tougher stance on the city’s pro-democracy movement over the past year, implementing a new national security law aimed at cracking down on dissent. 

In February, 47 pro-democracy activists and lawmakers were charged for subversion under the security law over their involvement in an unofficial primary election.

Authorities said it was part of a plan to paralyse the government.

Hong Kong was promised it would be allowed to maintain its separate political, economic and social systems for 50 years following the handover from Britain to China, including considerably greater freedoms of speech and protest than permitted in mainland China.

Critics say Chinese moves, including the imposition of the national security law, widespread arrests of critics and the impending changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system, have all but nullified that pledge.

Eight Hongkongers return from China after 7 months in jail for illegal border crossing: ‘Group which sought to flee to Taiwan will go into quarantine before facing charges in Hong Kong’ https://t.me/hongkongfp/12782

Hong Kong Free Press, [Mar 22, 2021 at 11:23 AM]

by Kelly Ho18:48, 22 March 2021

Eight of the 12 Hong Kong activists arrested at sea while trying to flee to Taiwan returned to the city on Monday after serving seven months behind bars in mainland China. 

Police said they received the eight males at Shenzhen Bay Port in batches. Activist Andy Li, who was arrested for alleged collusion with foreign forces under the national security law, was the first to arrive in a police minivan, according to local media.A minivan believed to be carrying one of the eight Hongkongers arrives in Tin Shui Wai Police Station on March 22, 2021. Photo: RTHK screenshot. 

Senior superintendent Steve Li of the police national security unit was seen arriving at Tin Shui Wai Police Station, where the activist was taken after leaving Shenzhen. 

Police said most of the suspects who were returned were involved in cases linked to the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests. They face charges included rioting, conspiracy to commit arson, making explosives and possession of offensive weapons. 

They will all face to serve 14 days in quarantine before answering the charges.

Speaking to reporters outside the Tin Shui Wai Police Station, a representative from the Save 12 Hong Kong Youths concern group said they were “very, very disappointed” about the police handover arrangement. Chow Hang-tung, who is a barrister and vice-chair of the Hong Kong Alliance, said police never informed family members of the eight suspects about the details of the transfer, saying they could only get updates from the news. She questioned what was so “secretive” about the suspects’ return from China.

Eight of the 12 Hong Kong activists arrested at sea while trying to flee to Taiwan returned to the city on Monday after serving seven months behind bars in mainland China. Full story: https://t.co/4S4rsRhlLR pic.twitter.com/A3OHPWUDdA— Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@hkfp) March 22, 2021

“Police refused to tell family members but they could tell the media… how ridiculous is that?” she asked.

Family members only had basic requests such as giving the returnees clothes and food, the concern group said, adding that only one of the returned Hongkongers has managed to call his family so far, while activist Andy Li had to give statements to police without the presence of his lawyers.

Two still imprisoned 

The 12 Hongkongers left for Taiwan by speedboat last August but were intercepted by the Chinese coastguard. After a four-month detention, a Shenzhen court jailed eight of them in December for seven months for crossing the border illegally. Family members of the 12 detained Hongkongers in a press conference in September 2020. Photo: Apple Daily. 

The group completed their terms on Monday after the initial detention period was taken into consideration. 

Tang Kai-yin and Quinn Moon, who were convicted of organising the crossing, are still in prison on the mainland after the court imposed heavier sentences of three and two years, respectively. 

The court decided not to prosecute teenagers Liu Tsz-man and Hoang Lam-phuc and they were sent back to Hong Kong on December 30, with Hong Kong police warning they may face extra charges for allegedly fleeing to Taiwan. 

Family members had complained that they could not access the group when they were in mainland custody. They had urged the Hong Kong government to bring the group back, but local officials said they would not interfere with law enforcement operations in another jurisdiction.

latest national security stories

AP/Hong Kong Free Press/

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Mar.24: 2021:

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