THE Chinese authorities have yet to press charges against Hong Kong journalist Xi Yang who has been held in Beijing for allegedly ''spying on banking secrets'', according to Ming Pao executive editor Paul Cheung Kin-bor yesterday. According to Mr Cheung, he was told by National Security officers yesterday that investigations were still underway although Xi had been ''formally arrested''. ''This is quite different from what we originally thought. We have planned to hire a lawyer for the family of Mr Xi but we have to put this plan on hold since we don't know yet if there will be a trial,'' Mr Cheung said. Mr Cheung added they would continue their liaison with the Ministry of National Security before deciding their next move. In the meantime, Xi was still denied visits by his family and legal counsel although he has been held for 12 days. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) said on Thursday Xi was found guilty of instructing a clerk named Tian Ye of the People's Bank of China to spy on its ''secrets'' which included a government plan to adjust interest rates and gold transactions. The report claimed both Xi and Tian had pleaded guilty. In Hong Kong, the newspaper yesterday stood firm that the veteran journalist had not engaged in any activities incompatible with his status. A senior source at the newspaper said it had been advised by parties close to Beijing that ''a low-key approach'' would be the best strategy to help Xi. ''We are ready to admit our fault if it can be proven that we are wrong. ''But up to now, there is still no evidence that Xi Yang has done anything that is not the normal work of a journalist,'' the source said. He added there was no knowledge of other arrests in connection with the case. Ming Pao was confident Xi had not resorted to bribery to obtain stories for the newspaper. ''All our reporters know that we don't practise cheque-book journalism,'' the source said. ''Since they have now formally arrested Xi, we can only assume that they would put him on trial,'' the source said. ''Under such circumstances, we hope that the trial will be an open and fair one.'' He pointed out that the arrest had cast a shadow over the freedom of reporting in China. ''This is not just Xi Yang. The fallout of this case carries grave implications for the whole journalist profession in Hong Kong,'' he said.