HK group jailed up to 3 years for crossing border
A local court in south China on Wednesday sentenced 10 people, who sought to flee Hong Kong by speedboat to Taiwan, to prison terms of seven months to three years for organizing illegal border crossings and illegally crossing the border.
Tang Kaiyin and Quinn Moon were respectively sentenced to three years and two years in prison after being convicted of organizing illegal border crossings for others, according to a verdict handed down by the Yantian District People’s Court in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. The two were respectively fined 20,000 yuan (US$3,064) and 15,000 yuan.
Eight other defendants were sentenced to seven months in prison with fines of 10,000 yuan each for sneaking across the border. According to the arrangements of others, Tang and Quinn organized the sneaking to Taiwan from Hong Kong on August 23, 2020. A total of 12 people, including Tang, Quinn and two juveniles, took a boat from a port in Hong Kong’s Sai Kung. Tang navigated the boat.
The group were reportedly facing prosecution in Hong Kong related to last year’s protests before attempting their escape.
They were captured by Shenzhen Coast Guard in waters under the jurisdiction of Guangdong Province at about 8am on the same day. They were officially arrested on September 30 with the approval of the procuratorate authority.
The 10 confessed to the crimes, pleaded guilty and accepted the punishment. In its verdict, the court said as Tang and Quinn were organized by others to perpetrate the crime, they were accomplices in the crime. Thus, they were treated leniently according to law.
Some lawmakers, political advisors and journalists from Shenzhen and Hong Kong, as well as relatives of the defendants, attended the sentencing.
The People’s Procuratorate of Yantian District said that it had decided not to prosecute the two juveniles who pleaded guilty after a review and a closed hearing according to law.
The two — aged 17 and 18 — were turned over by the mainland authorities to the Hong Kong police on Wednesday.
Already charged with offenses including arson and possession of offensive weapon in Hong Kong previously, the two were absent from their trials and a Hong Kong court has issued arrest warrants, Cheng Lai-ki, acting chief superintendent of the Commercial Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong Police said, adding that they will be taken to the court after quarantine.
Cheng said the two could face a new charge of “failing to surrender to custody as shall have been appointed” as they jumped bail.
The 10 who were sentenced could face additional charges on their return to Hong Kong, she added.