Shenzhen court sentences 10 HK detainees for imprisonment from seven months to three years
Published: Dec 30, 2020 11:28 AM

Photo: VCG

Shenzhen's Yantian District People's Court on Wednesday sentenced 10 Hong Kong detainees to imprisonment from seven months to three years for organizing illegal border crossing and illegally entering Chinese mainland waters in August, after a two-day trial where the 10 suspects had already pleaded guilty. 

The sentencing is also believed to be "a thing that falls into place," officials and legal experts said. 

According to Chinese mainland laws, those who organize people to illegally cross the border will be subject to sentences of between two and seven years. An individual illegal border crossing conviction will result in a sentence less than two years.

The court sentenced the two who organized the illegal border crossing for three-year and two-year imprisonment, respectively, with fines of 20,000 yuan ($3,066) and 15,000 yuan, the court said. The rest were sentenced to seven-month imprisonment with fine of 10,000 yuan. 

The court also took into account the circumstances of each defendants' crime and the consequences, as well as the recommendations of the prosecutors. 

The Chinese mainland Coast Guard arrested 12 Hong Kong people suspected of illegally crossing the border in August. Shenzhen prosecutors charged two of the 12 Hong Kong residents with organizing an illegal border crossing and eight others for illegally crossing the border on December 16. As two suspects are under age 18, as minors, their trial will not be open to the public.

The trial of 10 detainees was opened on Monday with the court hearing the public prosecution's opinions as well as the suspects' defense. And Journalists and relatives of the suspects attended the trial, the court said in a public statement, rebutting some reports that claim the case was conducted "in secret" and violated the legitimate rights of the Hong Kong residents in question.

Some mainland legal experts see it as a "very simple" criminal case. Since it happened within the jurisdiction of the Chinese mainland, mainland jurisdiction organs are responsible for initiating prosecution and the trial itself, in accordance with the law, said Tian Feilong, a Hong Kong affairs expert at Beihang University in Beijing.

While China has been excising its juridical sovereignty by processing the case in accordance with the law, some Western politicians and countries such as UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab and the US Embassy in China continued pressuring China by demanding the release of the Hong Kong detainees, which, however, won't have any impact on the matter, Chinese experts said. 

The two minors involved in the case would be transferred to Hong Kong police on Wednesday morning, according to media reports. 

Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the Standing Committee of the NPC, considered the prosecution as a thing that falls into place. "In any place in the world, suspects who violate the law won't escape from justice."

If Western-led public opinion and some politicians in foreign countries have doubts about that and criticize it, it's typical double standards, Tam said. "Will they tolerate those who violate the law?"