'Shenzhen detainees planning to plead guilty' - RTHK
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'Shenzhen detainees planning to plead guilty'

2020-12-28 HKT 11:39
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  • 'Shenzhen detainees planning to plead guilty'
Ten young Hong Kong people accused of illegally entering mainland waters during an apparent bid to flee the SAR for Taiwan were expected to plead guilty at their trial on Monday, said former lawmaker Chu Hoi-dick.

Security was tight at the Yantian District People's Court in Shenzhen ahead of the hearing, with court officials telling RTHK that the proceedings would be public, but that all the seats had already been reserved.

Diplomats from countries including the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia, were denied entry.

“My earlier understanding was that there should be no one denying their charges,” said former lawmaker Chu Hoi-dick, who has been helping the detainees’ families.

News of Monday's trial only emerged last week, leaving no time for the families to attempt to attend the hearing, given the 14-day quarantine requirement on the mainland due to the pandemic.

Speaking on an RTHK programme, Chu revealed that one family had tried to arrange for a relative in Shenzhen to go to the trial, but they had lost contact with this person a few days ago.

The brother of one of the detainees, surnamed Tang, said he hoped the judgement would at least be made public so they could find out the sentences as quickly as possible.

Tang told Commercial Radio that the lawyer appointed for his brother by the mainland authorities only informed them of the date and location of the court hearing, without answering their questions about the likely sentences.

“When we tried to find out more, the lawyer acted like he did something wrong. He was very scared and said he could not verify our identities and worried we would record the chat,” said Tang.

“[I’m feeling] very helpless and don’t know what to do... In the past, when people heard of the mainland’s judicial process they would express distrust in it. After experiencing it yourself, your sense of distrust is even stronger.”

But speaking on the same programme, pro-establishment heavyweight Tam Yiu-chung defended the mainland's judiciary, saying it has its own set of rules and cannot be judged based on the system in Hong Kong.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee member praised the mainland authorities for improving transparency by introducing live broadcasts for some court proceedings.

No live broadcast was expected for the Hongkongers' trial, however, with Tam saying the case has “special circumstances”, without elaborating.

Two of the 12 Hongkongers detained by the Guangdong coast guard on August 23 are not going on trial because they are minors, with the authorities earlier saying that the pair would instead face a hearing with prosecutors to decide on their fate.