The Hong Kong government sent information to mainland authorities regarding the kidnapping of a Hong Kong businessman who ended up on trial in China, but their efforts were ignored, according to Ming Pao.
Ming Pao columnist Ji Shuoming wrote that in September 2013, Poon Wai-hei and his wife Luk Ka were kidnapped in Hong Kong by a group of men wearing local traffic police uniforms. They were reportedly taken to the mainland by boat and dropped off outside a police station. They were then arrested by mainland police. Poon was convicted last year of illegally absorbing public funds.
Poon filed for an appeal, and a second closed-door trial took place last month. Poon’s lawyer Zhai Jian told Ming Pao that Poon’s only wish during the trial was that he could give a defence, but it was not allowed and the appeal failed.
In the original document stating Poon’s charges in 2014, he was listed as a Hong Kong permanent resident, according to Duan Wanjin, Poon’s lawyer at the time.
However, at the trial, Poon was only called a “person from Guangzhou”. Zhai said the trial was “unfair and illegal” as Poon was kidnapped from Hong Kong.
Zhai added that the Hong Kong government had sent information on Poon’s kidnapping to the mainland authorities, but the mainland government and court did not show any interest. He said that the Hong Kong government should be allowed to be involved as a form of offering “judicial assistance”.
The assistance of lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, a member of the National People’s Congress, was requested by Poon’s family. Regarding the kidnapping, Ip told Ming Pao that “it cannot be said it was done by mainland police – he was only put near a police station”.
But he agreed that Poon’s criminal case may not have strong evidence. He wrote to the head of the Supreme People’s Court in March before the second trial, and received a reply saying the case was transferred to the High People’s Court of Guangdong Province. Zhai said he did not receive any notice from the court.
Ji Shuoming wrote that Poon’s family recently received a reply from Hong Kong’s Security Bureau after notifying it of Poon’s second trial result. The Bureau told the family that it will not interfere with mainland’s law enforcement system under the One Country, Two System principle.
Ji said that the incident is no longer a legal issue but a political issue. He said it reflected how the communication mechanism between Hong Kong and mainland was “apparently non-existent”.
“What the Hong Kong government can do for Hong Kong people is only sending information – it has completely no power of checks and balances over serious illegal acts,” he wrote.