A dozen young Hongkongers held incommunicado by the Chinese authorities since they were intercepted while leaving Hong Kong by speedboat must have their human rights respected, Amnesty International Hong Kong said today, 100 days after their arrest.
The 12 youths have been denied lawyers appointed by their families since being detained on 23 August, and they are at imminent risk of torture. Two of the group were under 18 years old when arrested.
“The plight of these 12 young people is extremely concerning. Over the past 100 days, they have been subjected to some of the most common tactics from the Chinese police’s playbook.
“They have been deprived of their basic human right to fair trial, including the chance to select their own lawyers, and they are at risk of torture and ill-treatment. Their families have repeatedly been denied access to them, and at least six lawyers have been threatened by the Chinese authorities to make them drop this case.
“China must allow the ‘Hong Kong 12’, two of whom were children at the time of their arrest, to have regular access to their families and to family-appointed lawyers. They must also ensure that these young people are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.”
CHENG Tsz-ho (鄭子豪), CHEUNG Chun-fu (張俊富), LIU Tsz-man (廖子文), QUINN Moon (喬映瑜), TANG Kai-yin (鄧棨然), LI Tsz-yin (李子賢), LI Yu-hin (李宇軒), WONG Wai-yin (黃偉然) and four other individuals were intercepted by coast guard officers from mainland China after leaving Hong Kong on a speedboat on 23 August 2020.
On 30 September 2020, Yantian District People’s Procuratorate announced that it had approved the arrest of the 12 Hongkongers. This means that the 12 individuals could remain in custodial detention for three months or more while the case is investigated further by the police.
QUINN and TANG were arrested for allegedly “organizing other persons to secretly cross the border” and the 10 others for “secretly crossing the border”.
The Hong Kong government has made clear it has no intention of interfering with “the law enforcement of other jurisdictions”.
Amnesty International has documented numerous cases in which detained individuals in mainland China, many of them human rights defenders, have been routinely deprived of their right to see lawyers that they or their families have chosen to represent them.
In some instances, the authorities have appointed lawyers for detainees without their, of their families’, consent. In other cases, the authorities have threatened lawyers to make them drop cases.
They have also claimed that detainees dismissed family-hired lawyers without producing any proof, as well as stopping families from hiring lawyers. All of this effectively amounts to depriving the detainees of their right to legal representation. Individuals deprived of legal representation of their own choice are often denied access to information about their legal rights, making them more vulnerable to unfair legal procedures.