'Shenzhen detainees to hear their fate on Wednesday' - RTHK
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'Shenzhen detainees to hear their fate on Wednesday'

2020-12-29 HKT 12:12
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  • 'Shenzhen detainees to hear their fate on Wednesday'
Vicky Wong reports
The families of 10 Hongkongers put on trial in Shenzhen say they have been informed by lawyers that the court will deliver the verdicts at 10.30am on Wednesday.

However, the relatives said they had been unable to verify the information with the Yantian District People's Court.

The news comes after the lawyers claimed the 10 detainees had pleaded guilty to charges related to illegally crossing into mainland waters during Monday's hearing.

The brother of one of the Hongkongers, Tang Kai-yin, told RTHK that the families had struggled to get hold of the lawyers for information about the brief trial, but eventually received calls from them on Monday night.

“The messages everyone received were similar, that their children were good during the court proceedings and had pleaded guilty sincerely, nothing more,” he said.

He also cast doubt on a claim made by the court that relatives of the defendants were present during the hearing, after the families were given insufficient notice to attempt to attend the trial themselves.

“Suddenly we were told that a relative was there, but we asked [the families] of the 12 detained and none of them knew who that was, so we’re baffled by this,” he said.

A lawyer assisting the families, Chow Hang-tung, said there had been cases on the mainland in the past where families known for speaking up were barred from court hearings, with the authorities arranging for distant relatives to attend instead.

The young Hongkongers were picked up by the Guangdong coast guard on August 23 as they allegedly tried to flee the SAR for Taiwan by speedboat.

Two others have been detained with them, but Shenzhen authorities said because the pair are minors, they would only face a hearing with prosecutors, rather than a trial.

Before their capture at sea, the 12 had been accused of protest-related offences in Hong Kong. At one point, Beijing went as far as describing them as "separatists".
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Last updated: 2020-12-29 HKT 14:13