A nightmare comes true for 12 Hong Kongers arrested at sea, now in Chinese detention

A nightmare comes true for 12 Hong Kongers arrested at sea, now in Chinese detention

9/25/2020 2:58:00 PM

A nightmare comes true for 12 Hong Kongers arrested at sea, now in Chinese detention

What sparked Hong Kong's mass protests last year — fear of extradition to mainland China — has become a dark reality for 12 Hong Kong families.

HONG KONG — The young woman keeps two timers on her phone: one counting down until her anniversary with her boyfriend, the other tracking how many days it has been since he vanished at sea.She’d noticed him acting strange in days before Aug. 23: tense and withdrawn, but abruptly telling her, “Take care” and that she was loved.

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They had gotten together in December after he was bailed out of detention, one of more than 10,000 Hong Kong people who’ve been arrested since last year in relation for mass protests against increasing Chinese control over the semi-autonomous territory. He’d become constantly on guard after that, afraid of being locked up again.

Family members of 12 Hong Kong people detained in Guangdong province speak to news media Sept. 12 in Hong Kong.(Anthony Kwan / Getty Images)AdvertisementAdvertisementThen he disappeared. For three days, his girlfriend and family had no information of his whereabouts. They worried he’d been kidnapped or even killed. Word came on Aug. 26: The Chinese coast guard had stopped a boat reportedly headed toward Taiwan and taken 12 Hong Kongers on board into detention. They would be held in mainland China, not their home city.

“He is trapped in another hell,” said the girlfriend, who spoke on condition of using only her first name, Alice, and withholding her boyfriend’s name for fear of retribution under a newnational security lawrecently imposed on Hong Kong to silence dissent as China tightens its hold on the former British colony.

A month has passed since the “Hong Kong 12,” as they have been nicknamed in the city, were detained for alleged illegal border crossing in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, just over an hour’s drive from Hong Kong but a world away in terms of legal protections.

Their case is a nightmare for 12 families now living the very scenario that brought millions of protesters into Hong Kong’s streets last year: being subjected to the mainland Chinese justice system, where thelawenforces political authority rather than upholding individuals’ rights.

All but one of the detained had been barred from leaving Hong Kong under court orders, according to a statement from Hong Kong police. They were mostly activists and pro-democracy protesters who had been charged with attempted arson, possession of offensive weapons, rioting, and possession of explosives; one had been charged with breaking the national security law.

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The Hong Kong families have attempted to hire mainland Chinese lawyers to defend the 12 — 11 men and one woman — who range in age from 16 to 33 and include at least one foreign national, a 19-year-old with Portuguese citizenship, according to local reports.

AdvertisementNone of the mainland lawyers representing the 12 have been granted access to their clients, according to two of the lawyers hired by the families and activists working with them. The lawyers have been followed, harassed, warned by security officials to drop the case, and told at the Shenzhen detention center that the 12 had separately hired their own attorneys from a government-provided list.

Fan Biaowen, left, Liang Xiaojun and Song Yusheng are human rights lawyers hired by Hong Kong families to represent their detained relatives.(Wu Li)“My son would definitely not do that,” said the mother of one of the detainees, 29-year-old Li Tsz-yin, at a

news conferencetwo weeks ago. The family members spoke wearing sunglasses, masks and hats, with jackets zipped up to conceal their faces.Li’s son didn’t know anyone in mainland China and wouldn’t have chosen a Chinese lawyer on his own, she said, her voice shaking.

“The [government] departments are kicking us around like a rubber ball,” said the wife of Wong Wai-yin, another detainee. Authorities had told the Hong Kong lawyer she hired that he should drop the case, she said, while various government departments directed her to call different numbers about seeing her husband, all to no avail.

“I keep dreaming of him shaved bald, in prison clothes with an overgrown beard, his face entirely helpless,” she said. “I can’t see any hope.”The case has further strained relations between Beijing and Washington. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus wrote on Twitter earlier this month that “the arrest of the 12 Hong Kong democracy activists is a sad example of the deterioration of human rights in Hong Kong.”

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Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the 12 were “not democratic activists, but elements attempting to separate Hong Kong from China” — a claim that appeared to raise the 12 Hong Kongers’ current charges of illegal border crossing to the more serious charge of separatism.

One of the 12, 30-year-old programmer Andy Li, had been arrested under the national security law in August. He helped arrange a delegation of foreign observers’ to visit Hong Kong during local elections last year. He was charged with collusion with foreign forces and money laundering.

“It is pure anguish to not know what Andy is going through right now,” his family wrote in a. He must have fled Hong Kong because he believed he would not receive fair trial under the new national security law, they wrote — and now he was in an even worse situation.

AdvertisementMost of the 12 Hong Kongers had not told their families of their plans to flee, according tolocal reports.Cheng Tsz-Ho, 18, bade goodbye to his father at dawn, telling him he was going fishing.Li Tsz-yin, 29, had suddenly asked his mother to take a selfie together a few days before the trip.

Cheung Ming-yu, 20, had stayed up the night before playing video games, waiting until his family fell asleep.Liu Tsz-man, who was less than a week from turning 18, had fought repeatedly with his father over Hong Kong politics. But he’d called his older brother days before leaving and asked him to care for their dad.

Across the border, the lawyers hired by the Hong Kong families have been rebuffed on repeated attempts to meet the detainees. One of the lawyers spoke with The Times via an encrypted messaging app while on a train to Shenzhen. He couldn’t call because two plainclothes men, one policeman and one state security agent, had been following him since he left home, he said.

He had also been called in by the local justice bureau, state security department, and lawyers’ association after his first trip to Shenzhen. Some had warned him to drop the case and others to stop speaking with media. He said officials “reminded me that it will be ‘detrimental’ to me if I continue,” he said.

Another of the family lawyers, Lu Siwei, said he had made several visits and been denied access for bureaucratic reasons, including claims about missing documents or that the detainees had chosen other representation.“As lawyers, we have signed a contract, so we must continue,” he said. “They are my clients. I must try to secure their rights. It’s that simple.”

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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save12hkyouths CCP planes flew towards Taiwan CCP : There is no boarder between Mainland and Taiwan HongKongers will NeverGiveUp fighting for their back save12hkyouths sam99061414 save12hkyouth FightForFreedomStandWithHongKong sam99061414 Please help to Save12HKYouths that detained in China Global Petition: Immediate Return of the 12 HK Detainees from Mainland China! Save12HKYouth

kerokero_HKer Hongkonger is under HumanitarianCrisis now :( Pls dont give up HK in this big crisis, HKer not surrender! Still fighting for justice, HumanRight & democracy! Dear world, StandWithHK! SOSHK FreeHK save12hkyouth HongKongNeedsHelp NationalSecurityLaw DefendingHongKong kerokero_HKer HongKongProtester is resisting the evil CCP Chinazi & its shameless puppets for long time.. So much pain, PoliceBrutality, Exhausted & Traumatized.. but HKer is not going to give up hope, justice & humanright.. Pls help HongKonger HongKongNeedsHelp FreeHK StandWithHK

Unfortunately it shows why HongKongers have been fighting for their freedom and democracy! The fact is that China arrested the 12, but were the 12 on the China border. China claims everywhere is his land, even the South sea. Sadly it proves that China law is horrible and darkness. That is the reason why HongKong antiELAB since June 2019. It also speed up the damage our freedom & HumanRights from CCP. Please StandWithHongKong save12hkyouths

This is why we are against the extradition bill in the first place. Now that the bill has been withdrawn, but NSL and this shit still happened, so no one, local or foreigner, is ever safe from China’s threat. I’m extremely worried about the 12 detainees :’( save12hkyouths free12hkyouths TakeDownTheCCP

m81792127 HKGov basically giving up the 12 youths who flee to Taiwan, they even blame them run away fr legal liability. However, what is their crime? They are not murder, raper or thief, they are just the people to fight for democracy & freedom, they are dissidents! NoRioterOnlyTyranny keep silent won't get any feedback, but voicing need much brave save12hkyouths hope all of you can safe

save12hkyouths This is ccp’s transparent legal system which you can’t choose your own lawyer represent you in court and you can’t see your families duration the detention. You are locked up like criminals. save12hkyouths Plz, pay attention to Hong Kong 12 youths! They are not allowed to see lawyers. Their rights are not protected. I can't imagine what they are facing. :( save12hkyouths

Please... save12hkyouths 🥺🙏🏼 kerokero_HKer The World should say no to Tyranny! . Although facing the evil Chinazi, NationalSecurityLaw & PoliceBrutality, Hongkongers are not giving up! Sanction XiJinPing, CarrieLam, HKGov & CCP Officals! FreeHK SOSHK SAVE12HKYOUTHS StandWithHongKong AntiChinazi

kerokero_HKer How evil can the Chinazi Tyranny be? . Hongkonger well knew CCP China & HKPolice HKGov are evil & brutal Totalitarianism long ago.. HKer is still fighting, For justice, HumanRight & democracy! FreeHK Pls StandWithHongKong! Pls help! SAVE12HKYOUTH! SOSHK Say no to Tyranny! . As a Hongkonger, my dream is simple but difficult.. So difficult for HK to have justice, HumanRight, liberty & democracy.. But We’re still fighting! save12hkyouth No PoliceBrutality, CCP Chinazi Totalitarianism! DefendingHongKong StandWithHK

any chance for a fair trial when the detained can't even meet the lawyers their families appointed for them? save12hkyouths 🙏🙏 They are Hong Kong demonstrators who have been transported to China and will be severely punished. They urgently need outside attention. When they receive more attention from the outside world, their situation will be safer😣🙏🙏 save12hkyouths

save12hkyouths 🥺 a month already. Are they alright? No one knows save12hkyouths save12hkyouth from the evil ccpchina hands. They have been locked down for more than a month since being kidnapped by CCPChina We must send them back to hongkong safely! soshk save12hkyouths StandWithHongKong SaveOurChildren CCP_is_terrorist

save12hkyouths More employees for the Nike shoe factory 👍 It’s a long lasting nightmare for the detainees and their family members. We have no ideas about whether they are safe or not. They could not access to medical and legal support. That’s totally ridiculous. Please save12hkyouths 😔🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

It's over 30 days since these youths were last seen... They still don't have proper access to lawyers. China are setting up detention camps when they feel like it save12hkyouths People should have the chance to receive fair trials thru due process even if they committed crimes. Now after 30days, still no one can reach these youths and lawyers were appointed by CCP. They need our help! save12HKyouth save12HKyouths

eddieowen099 The worst thing is they have been deprived of their rights to legal representation & probably tortured both physically & mentally in a city call Shenzhen which is supposed to be a major metropolis in china. That's why we opposed extradition bills last year. It allows HK gov. send us arbitrarily to a place without rule of law and human right. However, NSL has ended Hong Kong..... . BoycottCCP save12hkyouths

It is extremely worrying. The 12HKyouths are completely cut off from the outside world. Their families do not even know if they are still alive. Internationsl pressure is essential in keeping them safe. save12hkyouths save12hkyouth FreeHK SaveLives SOSHK If the 12 youths will not send back to HongKong, they must be killed by the CCP like what happened in the Xinjiang concentration camp. Please save12hkyouths and StandWithHongKong! FreeHongKong HongKongProtests save12hkyouths save12hkyouth

hker are very worried about their fate. We must do everything to keep everyone’s attention of this incident, chinazi will definitely pay for their dictatorship and brutality save12hkyouths their situation is extremely worrying since they are even deprived of their basic legal rights save12hkyouths

It has been more than a month since no one can contact them after being arrested in mainland China. CCP has forcefully assigned lawyers to them, which we all know these lawyers won’t help them. And the hk govt didn’t show any attempt to ensure their safety. save12hkyouths They became hostages, not detention save12hkyouths StandWithHongKong

There is a rumor that CCP invade HongKong territory to kidnap the twelves Otherwise,why HKPolice could have one of their chat record and lied about that? save12hkyouths Their family cannot even sure the conditions of these 12 Hong Kong youth, it is very worrying. save12hkyouths Please save12hkyouths !

Chinese custody is an egregious nightmare for anyone. They are barred from accessing their families and lawyers. As the Gov turns a blind eye to them, I hope the international community can spotlight them. save12hkyouths Yes ... The most dreadful nightmare becomes the reality. A year ago HongKongers protested against the amendment of the extradition bill to prevent people being extradited to Mainland & face unfair judgement. Yet it finally happens StandWithHongKong save12hkyouths

The world must ascertain those 12 who were illegally arrested are still alive or not. Don't let them be any one more LiuXiaobo JoJo53859628 So worry about their situation. I don’t think CCP will easy to let them go. Don’t estimate this is only happened in Hong Kong, if you are foreigners but living at China, you may have the same risk. save12hkyouths

The twelve Hongkongers are in very dangerous situation now as we all know there's no rule of law in China. Hope the international pressure can make sure they won't disappear forever... They will now get to make merchandise for Lebron and the NBA. Coward Trump allowed this to happen. Any other American President would have told China you are not taking over Hong Kong. Just another Trump failure

It just shows how bad the tyranny is

A Hong Kong protester's farewell note and failed escapeWong Wai-yin's wife feared the worst after reading his short farewell letter. Some Hong Kong rioters don’t appreciate the happiness they enjoyed. It’s clear that Those criminals flee to escape their due punishment. In order to escape the jurisdiction of Hong Kang, run into jurisdiction of China. What a smart move. What was the initial reason for the protest? 为了逃避香港的司法,冲进了大陆的司法。好聪明的举动!一开始抗议的原因是啥来着? JessiePang0125 In fact,HKPolice have gotten one of their chat record It shows that they should know it early! Further,there is a rumor that CCP invade HongKong territory to kidnap them save12hkyouths

Hong Kong press body says new police media rules could limit scrutinyThe Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said on Thursday a move by police to narrow the definition of 'media representatives' allowed at public events such as protests could limit scrutiny on law enforcers. Press is the next target that will be controlled by the CCP. Ummm...sounds familiar and let’s not forget how journalists in Hong Kong have been ruthlessly and unlawfully attacked and abused by the Hong Kong Police in the past year PoliceBrutality FreedomofPress

Hong Kong government ends Disney's option for expanding theme parkWalt Disney Co will lose its option to buy a plot of land next to its Hong Kong theme park that was to allow for future expansion after the city's government said on Wednesday it would not extend the option due to current economic conditions. You mean the Chinese government. Hong Kong doesn't have an independent government anymore and it's a pathetic to pretend they do. Honestly, it’s sad...but, they should say they’re remodelling and demolish the place. Shut it down and never return. Any sort of connection to the CCP is cancerous. Like being connected to Hitler’s Reich or Stalin’s Soviet Socialism. A moral stain that Disney does not need. Too bad. It’s a tiny park compared to the others, but it is very nice.

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong arrested for 2019 illegal assemblyHong Kong police arrested prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong on Thursday for participating in an unauthorised assembly in October 2019 and violating the city's anti-mask law, according to a post on his official Twitter account. 😃😃😃😃😃😃 Affligent ! God be with him and make his last days on earth as least painful as possible while he is tourtured and killed in mainland china. morstyrannis

Hong Kong activist Wong arrested over unauthorized assemblyHONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said he was arrested again Thursday for allegedly participating in an unauthorized assembly last October. Wong tweeted that he... good Never give up. We support your activity

Hong Kong activist Wong arrested over unauthorized assemblyHong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said he was arrested again Thursday for allegedly participating in an unauthorized assembly last October. He is freedom fighter peacefully & China should leave him alone. Who will be better at managing China economically and geopolitically Well, Hong Kong is China. Don't do anything you're not supposed to, Joshua!