Date
17 January 2019
Lawmaker James To Kun-sun (middle) has been providing assistance to the families of four Hong Kong men who were convicted of possessing illegal drugs by a court in the Philippines. Photo: HKEJ
Lawmaker James To Kun-sun (middle) has been providing assistance to the families of four Hong Kong men who were convicted of possessing illegal drugs by a court in the Philippines. Photo: HKEJ

Govt intervention sought to help 4 HK men jailed in Philippines

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said on Thursday that he believes four Hong Kong men who were convicted of possessing illegal drugs by a court in the Philippines this month had received an unfair trial.

At a press conference, the lawmaker said the families of jailed men, whom he had been providing assistance, have decided to apply for a judicial review on the court ruling in the Philippines.

Related documents will be submitted in the next couple of days and the whole process is expected to take about half a year, To said, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

If the application ends up unsuccessful, the families will appeal the case, the lawmaker said.

He was referring to the case pertaining to four Hongkongers who had been arrested on a boat off Subic Bay in 2016 after Philippine police officers said about half a kilogram of methamphetamine, commonly known as Ice, were found in a backpack belonging to one of the men.

On Dec. 14 this year, the four were sentenced by a Philippine local court to life in prison for possession of illegal drugs.

The families had expressed hope that Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her administration will intervene with Philippine authorities to ensure some relief for the four.

To told media that the Office of the Chief Executive said in a reply to his inquiry that Lam will only consider meeting with the families after they give a copy of the documents for judicial review to the Security Bureau and the Immigration Department.

Still, the lawmaker pointed out that he personally thinks the four Hong Kong men are unlikely to get the justice they deserve unless senior officials in Beijing get involved.

Based on two video clips, one taken by a Philippine reporter and the other submitted to the court as evidence from a local news station, there seem to be discrepancies in the images that showed the way Philippine police officers conducted their searches on the boat, he said.

The clip submitted to the court seemed to have been edited, the lawmaker said.

As such, To urged the court to fully consider all evidence and reasonable doubts.

In other remarks, the lawmaker revealed that a fundraising campaign for assisting the families of the four jailed men had received about HK$223,000 from about 500 people as of Thursday, with the goal set at HK$3 million.

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TL/BN/RC

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