Chow Hang-tung, who’s a member of the Save 12 Hong Kong Youths Concern Group, said the families had been asking police for days about the handover arrangement, but the force refused to disclose any information.
“The families have not seen their loved ones for more than seven months. It’s human nature that they’re desperate to see or hear from the detainees. What’s so mysterious about the case? Why must the police add to the emotional burden of the families?” she questioned.
Chow also said that most of the families had still not heard from their loved ones, hours after their return to the SAR, saying at least one of the eight men was being questioned by police without legal representation.
“It is the detainees’ rights to meet their families and their lawyers,” she stressed.
Andy Li, Cheng Tsz-ho, Yim Man-him, Cheung Ming-yu, Cheung Chun-fu, Wong Wai-yin, Li Tsz-yin and Kok Tsz-lun were brought back to Hong Kong in batches on Monday.
They were among 12 Hongkongers captured by the Guangdong coast guard in August last year as they allegedly tried to flee to Taiwan by speedboat.
Ten of the group were jailed in Shenzhen in December after being convicted of illegally crossing the border, while two – who were under 18 at the time – were handed over to SAR authorities without being put on trial.
Two of those intercepted by the coast guard, Tang Kai-yin and Quinn Moon, remain in prison after being convicted of organising the illegal border crossing. Tang was jailed for three years and Quinn two years.
Chow said Tang and Quinn left the Yantian Detention Centre in late January to serve their sentences in prisons in Guangdong, and their families had since received a letter from them.
She said according to mainland prison rules, inmates are supposed to be allowed to make phone calls to their families, and she urged the SAR government to help make arrangements for this to happen.
Chow also expressed gratitude to mainland lawyers, the Hong Kong people and the press for their help and concern over the detentions, saying people’s attention “allowed the suspects to return to Hong Kong”.
Before their alleged attempt to flee to Taiwan, 11 of the Hongkongers were accused of protest-related offences while one, Andy Li, was arrested but not charged under the national security law.
Last updated: 2021-03-22 HKT 19:29