Reporters who entered a restricted zone at the border without permits should be bound over for only the week until the handover, a barrister said yesterday. Daniel Marash, representing Li Tze-keung of the Oriental Daily News, told Fanling Court that journalists did not want a good behaviour bond hanging over them with the change of sovereignty. 'The reporters were covering a political demonstration against the provisional legislature,' Mr Marash said. 'Now it is only seven days from the handover, we don't want to send a signal that there will be suppression on the freedom of press.' But magistrate Andrew Ma Hon-cheung said the binding-over period did not relate to the handover or press freedom. Although the offence was a minor one, reporters should comply with the law, he said. Charges of crossing the Lok Ma Chau control point without a permit were dismissed against 13 members of the United Front Against the Provisional Legislature, two reporters including Li, and a driver after they agreed to be bound over for a year in the sum of $250. The United Front members included legislators Andrew Cheng Kar-foo and Tsang Kin-shing, and district board member Wong Chung-ki. The three were not in court. Fourteen reporters and photographers refused to be bound over and pleaded not guilty to the charge. The court heard how police officers at the checkpoint saw a fleet of 11 vehicles arriving on December 21 last year. The protesters sent 50 balloons carrying anti-provisional legislature banners into China before leaving the area. Thirty people were charged with entering the control point without a permit. Nine of them were also charged with driving a vehicle into a restricted area without a licence. Barrister Nigel Aiken QC, for the remaining 14 reporters, organised a journey to Lok Ma Chau to question the clarity of road signs. The trial continues.