Two Hong Kong lawyers faced a terrifying ordeal in Fiji yesterday as they prosecuted coup-plotter George Speight. Barristers Gerard McCoy, SC, and Ray Pierce attended the hearing despite a threat that members of the prosecution team would be shot on their way to court in the capital, Suva. Speaking from his hotel, Mr McCoy told the South China Morning Post: 'There was a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions that people would be shot. Someone rang his office and said there was a high-powered rifle and they would take out the prosecutors this morning. 'It was not just an idle death threat. They said they had a rifle and a Magnum pistol and we were going to be taken out. There was a telephone call to the DPP's office, while we were in the office, saying we can see you in the northeast window, just exactly where we were. 'We just got down on our hands and knees and crawled out of that room. It was very, very frightening.' Mr McCoy said they had to switch cars and were guarded by police as they drove to the court. When they arrived, the building was cordoned off and there were police sharpshooters on the roof. But they still had to make a 50-metre dash from their car to the court and climb two flights of external stairs before entering. 'We walked very quickly with our briefcases over our backs,' Mr McCoy said. The lawyers were drafted to prosecute Speight after the Fijian Government made a formal approach to the New Zealand Government. Mr McCoy, who is also a member of the New Zealand Bar, was then retained to lead the prosecution team. Security for the trial had been stepped up after the discovery in September 2000 of 11.2kg of explosives in a hotel housing the prosecution team. Last month, former Hong Kong judge Peter Surman pulled out of the trial after reports of death threats against him. Mr McCoy said yesterday: 'We have had death threats throughout this case. We have to take each one seriously. But we will not be deterred by them.' He said the Hong Kong lawyers had previously been offered bodyguards but they were rejected because they were members of the same group that had failed to protect the prime minister during the coup. The prosecution team is using the skills of barrister Mr Pierce, a former member of the Hong Kong Police Organised Crime and Triad Bureau. 'Ray has been driving us, using all his police experience,' Mr McCoy said. The lawyers are due to return to court today to continue with the prosecution of other defendants. Mr McCoy said they could be in for another nervous day as people reacted to Speight's sentence. 'There are people marching around now, chanting. We are fearful we will be in the same position as we were today.'