The Yantian District People’s Court in the Chinese city of Shenzhen sentenced Wednesday 10 Hong Kong activists to imprisonment ranging from seven months to three years for illegal border crossing.
The Shenzhen coast guard authorities intercepted the boat taken by the group from a port in Hong Kong on August 23, in waters under Guangdong province’s jurisdiction. The group was alleged to be en route to Taiwan while facing charges in Hong Kong over anti-government protests.
The court convicted Tang Kai-yin and Quinn Moon for organizing the border crossing. They were sentenced to three years and two years in prison with fines of 20,000 yuan and 15,000 yuan respectively. Eight other defendants were sentenced to seven months in prison with fines of 10,000 yuan each. After a review and a closed hearing, the People’s Procuratorate of Yantian decided not to prosecute the two juveniles who pleaded guilty.
The case has drawn global attention over the safety of the convicted persons in mainland prisons due to the national security law passed in June. It has triggered widespread criticism amid fears surrounding Hong Kong’s disappearing freedoms, including freedoms of speech and assembly, which were guaranteed when Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Yamini Mishra, the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Amnesty International, said: “This group of young Hongkongers will be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment in Chinese jails.”