Hong Kong protesters fleeing to Taiwan by boat intercepted, detained by Guangdong authorities: Report

Photo via Unsplash/Shaah Shahidh
Photo via Unsplash/Shaah Shahidh

12 Hong Kong protesters who were fleeing to Taiwan via speedboat were intercepted by Chinese authorities, and are now being held by Guangdong authorities.

A report published by Radio Free Asia on Thursday referred to a post on the China Coast Guard’s Weibo page from yesterday, which states that on August 23, Guangdong authorities intercepted a speedboat southeast of Guangdong and Hong Kong at around 9pm. The incident has been classified as a case of illegal border crossing.

According to Radio Free Asia, 12 Hong Kong youths were on the boat en route for Taiwan. The outlet learned that they were protestors who had taken part in pro-democracy demonstrations in the city. Some were arrested for their roles in the protests but have been released on bail.

Read more: Hong Kongers fleeing city will be welcomed by Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen says

The China Coast Guard specified the identity of two of the arrested in the Weibo post—one whose last name is Tang, and another whose last name is Li.

The latter, Radio Free Asia says, is Andy Li, an activist who was arrested on the same day as media mogul Jimmy Lai earlier this month for breaching the national security law.

Li is the Chairman of the Independent Election Observation Mission to Hong Kong. He is also a volunteer member of “Fight for Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong,” an organization that raises international awareness of Hong Kong’s movement that has a prominent following on Twitter.

He is suspected of colluding with foreign forces under the national security law. Beijing mouthpiece Global Times has referred to Li as a “secessionist.”

Oriential Daily said that the other stowaways are linked to a suspected bomb plot at a Wan Chai school last year, and another incident last November when police arrested five people charged with possessing explosives after finding dozens of petrol bombs in a Wan Chai apartment.

The group is currently being detained by the Chinese Coast Guard in Guangdong. According to mainland China’s criminal law, the public security bureau can file a criminal case against the stowaways and sentence them to up to one year of imprisonment before deporting them back to Hong Kong, Radio Free Asia said.

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