Beijing, Dec 30 (efe-epa).- The two youngest members of a group of 12 Hongkongers, who were arrested in August for illegally entering Chinese territorial waters while trying to flee to Taiwan, will be handed over to Hong Kong police on Wednesday.
Public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) said the transfer of the underage suspects would take place in the morning.
The 12 suspects, who face charges related to last year’s anti-government protests, were captured at sea by the Chinese coastguard on Aug.23 as they allegedly attempted to flee Hong Kong by speedboat to Taiwan.
They were detained in Shenzhen since their capture. The local press then said the suspects were trying to flee to Taiwan as they feared for their security under the controversial national security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong last June.
Citing the authorities in mainland China, RTHK said rather than a trial, the minors among the suspects would instead face a hearing with prosecutors.
The remaining 10 suspects await a court verdict in the Chinese city, which lies just across the border in Hong Kong.
The public broadcaster, citing families of those put on trial, said the relatives were told to expect the verdicts Wednesday.
Last Monday, they pleaded guilty to charges of illegal entry into the territorial waters of mainland China.
Prosecutors said eight were charged with illegally entering mainland waters, while two were accused of a more serious offense of organizing the crossing.
According to the public broadcaster, the relatives were not able to attend the trial of the suspects after being given “insufficient notice” to first go through the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Diplomats from various countries were turned away from the court in Shenzhen as the hearing took place, RTHK said.
There have been numerous police raids and arrests of several prominent Hong Kong activists since China enforced the controversial law, which provides penalties of up to life imprisonment for cases of “secession” or “collusion with foreign forces.”
Some of them have gone into exile to avoid reprisals for activities that, under the new legislation, could constitute a crime. EFE-EPA