CHINA (December 30, 2020)—-A court on China’s mainland sentenced 10 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists to up to three years in prison Wednesday. In the closely watched case, the activists tried this summer to flee to Taiwan via speedboat — but they were intercepted at sea and detained in China.
The main charge against the group was that they sought to cross an international border illegally. But rather than return them to Hong Kong — where the police have deemed them fugitives — Chinese authorities opted to detain and prosecute the activists on the mainland.
The Yantian District People’s Court in Shenzhen imposed the toughest punishment on Tang Kai-yin and Quinn Moon, who were accused of organizing the trip. They are to serve three years and two years, respectively, along with a fine of up to around $3,000.
Eight other activists were ordered to spend seven months in prison and pay smaller fines. All of the sentences include the nearly four months the activists have already spent in custody, the South China Morning Post reports.
Two minors who were in the group of fugitives were returned to Hong Kong for trial, according to the South China Morning Post. The Global Times, a newspaper published by the Chinese Communist Party, said the trial would be closed to the public because of their age.
The eight others were sentenced to seven months behind bars for illegally crossing the border.
Officials earlier said that two minors from the so-called “Hong Kong 12” would be returned to Hong Kong after they admitted wrongdoing.