Hong Kong will ‘not interfere’ in China detention of 12
Hong Kong has said it will “not interfere” in the arrest by mainland Chinese authorities of the 12 residents who were detained as they sought to flee to Taiwan by sea, despite pleas from their families, as it emerged that Taiwan was holding five other people from Hong Kong who had also fled by boat.
In a statement on Sunday, Hong Kong authorities said they received requests for help from the families of the groups who were detained last month for illegal entry into mainland China as they were attempting to make their way to Taiwan.
China called the group “separatists.”
“The relevant crime falls within the jurisdiction of the mainland and the special administrative region government respects and will not interfere with law enforcement actions,” Hong Kong’s government said.
The group was suspected of “various criminal offences” in Hong Kong, it added, as it told families to make use of a free legal consultation service provided.
Taiwan has said it is holding five Hong Kong residents who were found by the coast guard on the Pratas Islands – which are controlled by Taiwan.
Premier Su Tseng stressed the government’s commitment to people from Hong Kong when he was asked about the group.
“As for the help to Hong Kong people, certain individual cases we cannot reveal,” Su said.
Family members of the 12 being held in mainland China have demanded their return at a news conference in Hong Kong.
The families concealed their identities while pleading for those arrested to be allowed to speak to lawyers appointed by them and not the Chinese government, and to be allowed to call relatives in Hong Kong.
The relatives of the detainees confirmed that several of them need medication and the youngest is a 16-year-old boy.
The arrests came about two months after Beijing imposed a security law on the territory following months of pro-democracy protests.
US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus tweeted that the arrests were “another example of the deterioration of human rights in Hong Kong,” and called on mainland authorities to “ensure due process.”
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