Two Hong Kong delegates to the nation's top law-making body have vowed to help a mother-of-three fight for the release of her husband, who has been detained without charges on the mainland for 31 months. National People's Congress (NPC) deputies Cheng Yiu-tong and Allen Lee Peng-fei met Chan Got Hong-hong in Beijing yesterday and officially received her petition. They promised to refer Mrs Chan's letter to the NPC's Standing Committee and the Inner Mongolia People's Congress before the conclusion of the NPC meeting. 'We will attach a joint letter saying we are concerned about the case,' Mr Lee said. Mr Cheng said: 'Any legal dispute should be resolved as soon as possible. There is no point detaining somebody in an attempt to get the money in a dispute back.' On Wednesday, a panel discussion of the Guangdong delegation to the NPC was told the problem of detention without trial on the mainland was 'rather serious'. 'Some people are held for three or even five years,' said Wang Jun, a former deputy chairman of the Guangdong People's Congress. Mrs Chan said her husband, Chan Yu-chun, 48, was being held in Inner Mongolia despite the transfer of five million yuan (HK$4.7 million) worth of goods to settle a business dispute. Mrs Chan flew to the capital on Wednesday to appeal to the Hong Kong deputies. Mr Chan was arrested in Fengnan city, Hebei province, on August 19, 2000. Although the Fengnan procuratorate refused to approve his arrest, the Public Security Bureau still held him under 'house arrest' at a hotel. In November 2001, Mr Chan was sent to Baotou city in Inner Mongolia and kept in detention there after the Baotou Public Security Bureau allegedly agreed to pay 40,000 yuan to its Fengnan counterpart for his transfer. Mainland law stipulates that people can only be detained without trial for up to 15 months. The number of Hong Kong residents held on the mainland for various reasons has soared from 10 cases before 1997 to 917 over the past two years.