Urgent Action Update: 12 Hongkongers Formally Arrested (China: UA 141.20)

October 13, 2020

Twelve Hongkongers arrested on 23 August 2020 by the Chinese coast guard were formally arrested on 30 September – two for allegedly organizing people to cross the border between Hong Kong and China and the other 10 for allegedly crossing the border. Having been detained for more than 45 days without access to their families and family-appointed lawyers, the 12 individuals remain at imminent risk of torture and other ill-treatment.



  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 141.20. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.


Director Fang Hongsheng
Yantian Branch of Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau
2078 Shenyan Lu, Yantian Qu,
Shenzhen Shi, 518081, People’s Republic of China
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 I Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ChineseEmbinUS
Salutation: Dear Ambassador


Dear Director Fang,

I am writing to express my grave concern for 12 Hongkongers who have been formally arrested for “secretly crossing the border” (偷越国(边)境) and “organizing other persons to secretly cross the border” (组织他人偷越国(边)境) on 30 September 2020. Two of them were under 18 years old when arrested. Held incommunicado for more than 45 days, I am concerned that they are at imminent risk of unfair trials and even torture and other ill-treatment. It is distressing to learn that the Yantian District Detention Centre has not allowed any of the family-hired lawyers to meet with the 12 individuals. Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee announced on 19 September that the 12, including a 17-year-old boy, had “chosen their own lawyers” and were “in good health”. In a public statement issued on 19 September, the families refused to acknowledge these lawyers claimed to be chosen by the 12 detainees. Furthermore, at least four of the family-hired lawyers have withdrawn from this case after being threatened and intimidated by the authorities to quit.

Meeting lawyers of one’s own choosing is an integral part of right to a fair trial and a fundamental safeguard for the prevention of torture and other ill-treatment. Denying these 12 individuals access to legal representation and to family members is in contravention of international human rights, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Basic Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, as well as China’s Criminal Procedure Law. It is extremely worrying that there is no way for family members or family-hired lawyers to confirm whether the 12 are in good health. I am concerned about three individuals who have existing health conditions and require regular prescribed medication. Additionally, juvenile justice protections set forth in international law and the China Criminal Procedural Law should be provided to the youngest detainees.

I call on you to immediately ensure that the 12 individuals have regular and effective access to family and family-appointed lawyers without delay; ensure that the 12 individuals are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment; and allow the 12 individuals prompt, regular and unrestricted access to medical care on request or as necessary.

Yours sincerely,