Hong Kong leader says 12 detained activists should first be tried by China

WION Web Team Hong Kong Sep 22, 2020, 04.20 PM(IST)

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam holds a news conference in Hong Kong, China Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The 12 were arrested on August 23 for illegal entry into mainland Chinese waters after setting off from Hong Kong in a boat bound for self-ruled Taiwan.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Monday (September 22) that the 12 Hong Kong nationals recently detained in mainland China should be first tried by mainland authorities, citing that they had "committed a crime in another jurisdiction" for which they must face legal liabilities.

The 12 were arrested on August 23 for illegal entry into mainland Chinese waters after setting off from Hong Kong in a boat bound for self-ruled Taiwan.

Also read: Hong Kong leader says 12 arrested at sea by China 'should accept legal liability'

Their failed bid to flee to Taiwan has highlighted the fears that many people feel in semi-autonomous Hong Kong about what they see as China's determination to end any push for greater democracy in the financial hub.

"Isn't it reasonable and fair that these twelve people should first face their legal liabilities in that other jurisdiction according to the law, and thereafter of course we will arrange for them to come back to face consequences," Lam said at a weekly news conference.

Lam assured that the Hong Kong government would provide "assistance" to the detainees, but said the mainland authorities' ruling must be respected.

All 12 were suspected of committing crimes in Hong Kong related to anti-government protests that erupted last year. Ten had been charged, released on bail and not allowed to leave the former British colony, and all are now being detained in neighbouring Shenzhen.