The two youngest members of a group of 12 Hongkongers detained in Shenzhen were handed over by mainland authorities to the SAR's police on Wednesday, with the force warning the pair now likely face extra charges for allegedly absconding.
Hoang Lam Phuc, 17, and Liu Tsz-man, 18, were brought back to the territory more than four months after they were captured with 10 others as they allegedly tried to flee to Taiwan by speedboat.
Prosecutors said that like the other 10, the two young men had admitted their guilt, but being as they were minors, they were not charged.
Police held a media briefing at their station in Tin Shui Wai after receiving the pair, making the unsubstantiated claim that the detainees in Shenzhen had all violated the law in Hong Kong.
They said the courts would be informed that the two teenagers were back in Hong Kong and were being placed in quarantine, and would be asked to decide whether the pair should be remanded in custody.
"For these two absconded suspects, we will bring up this issue to the court tomorrow and we will apply to the court to remand these two persons in jail custody. And it is subject to the decision of the court," said Cheng Lai-kei, acting chief superintendent of the commercial crime bureau.
"Society will take a zero tolerance approach towards anyone who tries to abscond," she added.
Cheng also said that the force is seeking advice from the Department of Justice on whether to charge the pair with absconding.
Later on Wednesday, Tsuen Wan district councillor Lester Shum said one of the teenagers' families was able to meet their son briefly at Tin Shui Wai police station.
Shum quoted the family as saying their son appeared "sluggish" and refused to speak about what had happened to him over the past four months while he was in custody.
As the teenagers returned to Hong Kong, the Yantian District People's Court in Shenzhen announced that the other detainees had been given prison terms ranging from seven months to three years.
The 12 were intercepted by the Guangdong coast guard on August 23. Eleven had earlier been accused of protest-related offences, while one had been arrested under the national security law.
Last updated: 2020-12-30 HKT 21:25