Hong Kong lambasts Pompeo over calling for release of 12 Hong Kongers

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Hong Kong, December 20 (ANI): Hong Kong has slammed the United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo and accused him of "totally disregarding the facts" while backing the case of 12 Hong Kongers arrested while they were trying to flee to Taiwan.

Hong Kong administration's reaction comes after Pompeo tweet asking China to release 12 people immediately.

"Hong Kong 12 should be released immediately. Their so-called 'crime' was to flee tyranny. Communist China today is turning Hong Kong into the East Berlin of yesteryear, actively preventing its own people from seeking freedom elsewhere," Pompeo said.

In response, a government spokesman expressed strong dissatisfaction "with these remarks which totally disregarded the facts and confused right and wrong", South China Morning Post reported.

He added that "those who break the law must face justice. This is something any society that upholds the rule of law should do."

The 12 Hong Kongers had been facing protest-related charges in Hong Kong and were fleeing to Taiwan by speedboat when the China Coast Guard intercepted them in mainland waters on August 23.

On Wednesday, Shenzhen authorities said 10 had been charged with illegal border-crossing offences, while closed-door hearings would determine the cases of the other two suspects who were underage.

In September, the Chinese foreign ministry had confirmed that the group comprised 11 men and a woman, aged 16 to 33 have been detained while they were trying to escape China.

According to a South China Morning Post report, the foreign ministry in Beijing has declared that the group of young fugitives, some of whom were linked to last year's anti-government protests, were "elements attempting to separate Hong Kong from China".

According to earlier Hong Kong media reports, among the people arrested was pro-democracy activist Andy Li.

Li is among the other pro-democracy activists including Agnes Chow and Jimmy Lai who were arrested on August 10 under the draconian National Security Law.

Since the enactment of draconian law, several pro-democracy activists have been fleeing for a safe haven to other countries. (ANI)