Prosecutors have pressed a new charge against nine Hongkongers who were detained in Shenzhen after an alleged failed attempt to flee to Taiwan by speedboat, accusing them of perverting the course of justice.
The defendants are Cheung Chun-fu, Cheung Ming-yu, Yim Man-him, Wong Wai-yin, Li Tsz-yin, Kok Tsz-lun, Cheng Tsz-ho, Liu Sze-Man and Hoang Lam Phuc.
Except for Liu and Hoang, all were convicted of illegally crossing the border in December in Shenzhen and sentenced to seven months in prison following a closed-door trial.
They were handed back to Hong Kong authorities in March after completing their prison sentences on the mainland.
Liu and Hoang, who were under 18 at the time of their arrest, were not put on trial and were sent back to the SAR in December.
During a mention hearing on Friday, the Eastern Court heard that the nine defendants, together with three other people, allegedly perverted the course of justice between December 2019 and August 2020 by bringing about the escape of 12 Hong Kong people from the SAR and obstructing police investigation.
Hoang’s lawyer told the court that he had never been notified that his client would be mentioned, saying he only knew about the hearing from the news on Thursday.
Principal magistrate Peter Law told the lawyer to raise the matter with the authorities.
The court accepted the prosecutor’s request to transfer the case to the District Court, with the next hearing scheduled for June 18.
The nine defendants were among 12 Hong Kong people intercepted by the Guangdong coastguard on a speedboat in August last year.
Andy Li, one of the 12, had also been brought back to Hong Kong in March after completing his prison sentence in Shenzhen.
However, Li was charged with colluding with foreign forces – an offence under the national security law – upon his return to the city and is being held in custody.
The remaining two detainees, Tang Kai-yin and Quinn Moon, are still being held in prison in Shenzhen after being convicted of organising an illegal border crossing.
Tang was jailed for three years and Quinn for two years.