The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday cautioned against unnecessary conjecture and said it would not comment on a media worker claiming that he had helped smuggle Hong Kong activists into Taiwan.
The council made the remarks after Edd Jhong (鐘聖雄) yesterday wrote on Facebook that he was “the main person who helped to bring” five Hong Kongers involved in anti-extradition protests in the territory to Taiwan.
The Hong Kongers had arrived in Kaohsiung via the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) on July 18, Jhong said.
The activists are currently with the council, Jhong said, adding that since their arrival their communication with the outside world has been cut, and no one, not even their parents and human rights groups, know how they are.
In other developments, a group of Hong Kong families yesterday demanded the return of their relatives detained last month by Chinese authorities as they reportedly attempted to flee the territory by boat to Taiwan.
Relatives of six of the 12 detained activists donned masks and hats to shield their identities as they made their first public appeal for help and information on their plight, supported by several local pro-democracy politicians.
Some wept as they issued their demands, including that those detained be allowed to consult lawyers appointed by the families and not the Chinese government and should be allowed to call their relatives in Hong Kong.
“I can’t imagine what’s the worst-case scenario,” said a woman surnamed Li, whose son Li Tsz-yin, 29, is among those being held in a detention center in Shenzhen.
They still have no information on the charges their relatives face, and the Hong Kong government has given no concrete assistance, they said.
A boy aged 16 is the youngest being held.
The Chinese coast guard on Aug. 27 said in a post on social media that it had arrested at least 10 people on Aug. 23 after intercepting a speedboat off the coast of Guangdong Province.
Hong Kong media, citing unidentified sources, said that the 12 were headed to Taiwan to apply for political asylum.
Their arrests come as local activists and politicians fear a worsening clampdown across the territory as sweeping new national security legislation imposed by Beijing in July takes full effect.
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