Updated Dec 30, 2020 - World

China jails Hong Kong activists caught fleeing for Taiwan by speedboat

People taking part in a parade named "Save the Twelve" in support for Hong Kong people in their fight for democracy.

A "Save the Twelve" parade in Hong Kong in support of the Hong Kongers who were caught at sea on their way to Taiwan. Photo: Alberto Buzzola/LightRocket via Getty Images

A court in Shenzhen, China, on Wednesday imprisoned 10 pro-democracy activists who tried to flee Hong Kong by speedboat and deported back home two minors who were with them.

The big picture: Coast guards caught the group in August 45 miles southeast of Hong Kong Island on their way to Taiwan, which has become a refuge for the city's pro-democracy exiles, per the New York Times.

  • Tang Kai Yin, 31, and Quinn Moon 33, were sentenced to three and two years in prison, respectively, for organizing the escape attempt. Eight others charged with illegally crossing a boundary were jailed for seven months.
  • Their trial lasted only one day and took place with few public witnesses, the Guardian notes.

Why it matters: It's the latest example of China cracking down on those associated with Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement since imposing a national security law on the former British territory last summer.

  • Prominent Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were handed prison sentences earlier after pleading guilty to charges of organizing and inciting an unauthorised assembly during last year's massive protests.
  • Meanwhile, Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been charged on suspicion of "colluding with foreign forces" under the security law.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the trial and further context.

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