Mon, Nov 27, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Jailed journalist seeks transfer to Guangdong prison

AFP , HONG KONG

Veteran Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong (程翔), convicted by China of spying for Taiwan, has asked that he serve his five-year sentence at a prison closer to home, his family said yesterday.

After an appeal against his conviction was refused last week following in a brief closed-door court session, Ching, 56, requested a transfer from his prison -- believed to be in Beijing -- to one in Guangdong Province.

"It would be more convenient for his family to visit him," his wife Mary Lau (劉敏儀) told RTHK radio in Hong Kong.

"In order to visit him regularly, it would be more convenient for him to be in prison in the Guangdong area," Lau said.

Ching was sentenced on Aug. 31 to five years in jail following a one-day, closed-door trial on espionage charges. He has always maintained his innocence.

In its original verdict, a lower Beijing court said Ching had passed on information, some of it top secret, to two people from a Taiwanese foundation who were in fact intelligence agents.

His family said Ching's health problems have worsened since he was imprisoned.

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