Lawyers for 12 Hongkongers captured at sea jointly demand mainland authorities grant them access

24-Sep-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Four mainland lawyers representing some of the 12 Hongkongers captured at sea last month by Chinese authorities took joint action on Wednesday, demanding officers at a detention centre in Shenzhen grant them access to the fugitives.

The move marked the first collective action by legal representatives hired by families of the dozen, aged from 16 to 33, since they were arrested by the Chinese coastguard as they reportedly attempted to flee to Taiwan.

To date, none of the family-appointed lawyers have been able to visit the suspects, who are detained on the mainland on suspicion of crossing the border illegally. All 12 are wanted in Hong Kong in connection to investigations into last year’s anti-government protests.

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Mainland Chinese authorities have previously denied repeated requests by several lawyers to meet with the detainees and asked them to drop the cases.

Hong Kong security minister John Lee Ka-chiu on Sunday prompted a backlash from the families after saying the 12 had already “selected lawyers” from a list approved by mainland authorities.

In Wednesday’s joint action, the four mainland lawyers visited the detention facility in Shenzhen’s Yantian district, requesting meetings with their clients.

“I’ve brought notarised documents with me… If you are sending me off again this time, you’re fooling us,” a source, who was at the scene, quoted lawyer Fan Biaowen as saying to an officer at the entrance gate.

He said that two plain-clothes officers, who covered their identification cards, spoke to the lawyers one by one, requesting extra notarised documents they said were required by the Supreme People’s Court and the Ministry of Justice.

But the lawyers challenged the request, saying those requirements only applied to civil cases on the mainland, and demanded immediate access to the suspects.

“The officers just told them they would report to their seniors and then walked away,” the source said.

Among the lawyers joining the collective action on Wednesday was Liang Xiaojun, who represents Andy Li, 29, the only one of the 12 to be arrested under the city’s sweeping new national security law.

Others included Wu Li, who represents Cheng Tsz-ho, a 17-year-old MTR technician trainee charged with conspiracy to commit arson with intent, and Song Yusheng, who represents Cheung Chun-fu, a 22-year-old university student charged with conspiracy to wound with intent.

Over the weekend, family members of the fugitives’ family members met Hong Kong police, urging the force to ask its mainland counterparts to provide the exact time, location and process of the sea capture and determine if any of the 12 were injured.

They also pressed for the Marine Department to disclose key data, including radar records of the speedboat in question to get a clearer picture of the saga.

Meanwhile, opposition politicians have mobilised a postcard-writing campaign to offer support to the arrested group during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival.


Category: Hong Kong

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