This Aug 21, 2019 photo shows the headquarters of the Hong Kong Police Force in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. (MAO SIQIAN / XINHUA)
HONG KONG - Nine people were arrested on Saturday on suspicion of helping 12 criminal suspects illegally leave Hong Kong, police said.
The nine are suspected of funding the plan, offering a boat to the 12, transferring them to the dock, and arranging accommodations for them in Taiwan, said Superintendent Tony Ho Chun-tung of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau.
Police said the arrestees — four men and five women aged between 27 to 72 — include a former lawmaker assistant, a clerk, a chef and a music teacher. Some of them have been arrested during last year’s social unrest
Ho told reporters that the arrestees — four men and five women aged between 27 to 72 — include a former lawmaker assistant, a clerk, a chef and a music teacher. Some of them were arrested during last year’s social unrest, Ho said.
Ho added that most of the nine were friends of the 12 suspects. He also said there was no evidence that the nine were affiliated with any organization, contradicting previous police speculation that the nine were part of a smuggling syndicate.
Police seized HK$500,000 (US$64,500) in cash, electronic equipment, and boat-sale documents during the arrests, Ho said. The investigation shows that the total cost of smuggling the 12 suspects may have exceeded HK$100,000, Ho said.
The 12 local activists were captured at sea by Guangdong provincial authorities on Aug 23 while they were attempting to leave for Taiwan. They are being detained in Shenzhen and charged with illegally crossing the boundary or organizing others to do so.
One of the 12 had been arrested earlier on suspicion of violating the National Security Law in Hong Kong. Others were accused of participating in criminal cases related to last year’s social unrest.
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