HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese authorities have actually jailed at least 10 people after intercepting a boat off the coast of the southern province of Guangdong, the provincial Coast Guard Bureau stated in a post on its social networks site.
Hong Kong media, citing unidentified sources, stated 12 individuals from the former British colony were arrested while cruising to Taiwan where they planned to request political asylum.
It was not clear what law they would be charged with breaching however, if verified, it would be a rare instance of Chinese authorities jailing people from Hong Kong trying to leave the city.
The Guangdong Coast Guard said on its social networks platform late on Wednesday individuals on the boat were jailed on Aug. 23.
Two of the apprehended were surnamed Li and Tang, it stated. It did not provide further details and might not be reached for comment.
Hong Kong media determined one of those on the vessel as Andy Li, who media said was just recently detained under a sweeping nationwide security law enforced by Beijing on its freest city on June 30.
Chris Tang, the Chinese-ruled city’s authorities chief, stated at a press conference he had not received any info from mainland authorities regarding the arrests.
In Taipei, the China-policy making Mainland Affairs Council did not validate the media report, however said those who come to Taiwan via unlawful ways will deal with criminal charges, and restated the government’s pledges to give “humanitarian support” to Hong Kong protesters.
The new security legislation, opposed by many in Hong Kong, penalizes what Beijing broadly specifies as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in jail.
The Hong Kong federal government, authorities and security bureau did not instantly respond to a request for remark.
Reporting By Jessie Pang, Carol Mang, Donny Kwok and Twinnie Siu; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee in Taipei; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Modifying by Robert Birsel and Toby Chopra
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