Reginal Ip replies

Justice and security chiefs rejected criticism Hong Kong's jurisdiction has been impaired.

Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said the gang was tried on the mainland for offences committed there.

'This is not the first time Hong Kong residents have been convicted and sentenced outside Hong Kong,' she said.

'We respect the independence of the judicial systems of other jurisdictions. Likewise, we would not interfere with the judicial proceedings on the mainland.' When the gang went to the mainland in January, Hong Kong police had not collected evidence to prosecute them.

'There is no question of the mainland interfering with our jurisdiction. Hong Kong people's faith in the independence of our judicial system should not be eroded.' The Government had no plan to plead for leniency for the convicted criminals, but would relay any demands if requested by family members, she said.