Film plan for 14 jailed indefinitely

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 May, 1999, 12:00am

A campaigner for 14 prisoners sentenced to indefinite terms is planning a film to highlight their plight.

Legislator Leung Yiu-chung, who has been fighting for the group for years, is seeking $3 million to make the film telling the prisoners' stories.

He hopes it will arouse public concern and discussion about their situation.

They were detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure for committing serious crimes when under 18 and before the death penalty was dropped in 1993.

'It is totally unfair and unacceptable,' Mr Leung said.

'I do not question they should be punished for the crimes they committed, but there is no excuse letting their spirits be tortured.

'I do not expect the film will make money. Profit is not my concern. What I want is public contemplation.' He said the prisoners had learned their lesson and some of them were studying.

Describing the issue as controversial and deserving public attention, the film's director, Herman Yau Lai-to, who is working on the script, estimated at least $3 million would be needed.

The prisoners' families have staged years of protests and written petitions to the Government in vain.

Lai Hung-chun, elder sister of one of the prisoners, said: 'I know Mr Leung is looking for money for the film. I hope it can be made. People should know their stories.' Her brother, Lai Hung-wai, has been in jail since 1989 for murder. He has been told he will serve a 20-year minimum term, but still does not know how long he must spend behind bars.

'I'd rather my brother was sentenced to life imprisonment,' said Ms Lai. She said prisoners normally were eligible to apply for parole and receive remission, which the 14 were denied.

The 14 have been given minimum terms ranging from 15 to 30 years. A long-term prison sentences review board has been set up to examine their sentences.

A meeting between Mr Leung and Tung Chee-hwa early this year failed to persuade the Chief Executive to alter their sentences.



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