Hong Kong Police Wanchai district headquarters, Aug. 21, 2019 Photo:Xinhua
Hong Kong police on Saturday morning arrested nine people suspected of helping 12 fugitives who illegally crossed into waters under mainland jurisdiction and were detained by police in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province in late August.
The nine suspects – four men and five women ranging in age from 27 to 72 – assisted the fugitives to evade court trials and escape police pursuit – a serious crime that could result in up to 10 years of imprisonment, Hong Kong police said at a press conference.
The 12 Hong Kong residents were put under criminal detention by Shenzhen police for illegally crossing the border into waters under the mainland’s jurisdiction on August 23. Media reports suggested that the residents were trying to flee Hong Kong and headed for the island of Taiwan.
Hong Kong police said that the nine arrested on Saturday are friends of the 12 fugitives and were suspected of arranging boats, vehicles and accommodation for them. Each of the nine were assigned different roles in the operation, including providing funds, arranging accommodation for the 12 fugitives before sneaking them out, transporting the fugitives to a dock and arranging their arrival in Taiwan, police said.
While arresting the nine suspects in the Kowloon and the New Territories areas on Saturday morning, police also seized over HK$500,000 ($64,516) cash, mobile phones, laptops, and receipts for the purchase of a boat.
At the press conference on Saturday, Hong Kong police said the 12 Hong Kong residents were arrested by mainland police for committing crimes in the mainland, and the entire operation “had nothing to do with the Hong Kong police.”