Rights activists behind an international campaign to abolish the death penalty on the mainland raised concerns yesterday that an increasing number of Hongkongers are being executed. The United Committee for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, a Hong Kong-based group, has launched a signature campaign along with religious and human rights organisations in Italy, Australia, France, the US and Taiwan. Group member Father Franco Mella, marking International Day for the Abolition of the Death Penalty in China, said about 2,000 signatures had already been handed to the mainland authorities and a further 1,200 were collected yesterday. 'No one can take the life of another person. You can't use the law to kill people,' he said. He said the group was particularly concerned that more Hong Kong people were being sentenced to death on the mainland. At least 70 have been given death sentences or suspended death sentences between 1998 and 2001. Prisoners given a suspended penalty escape execution if they behave for two years after the sentence is imposed. The committee said among the 3,048 prisoners executed in 31 countries last year, 80 per cent were on the mainland. It believes the true figure for the mainland is much higher.