The culprits in the execution-style murder of businessman Harry Lam Hon-lit in Central's Luk Yu Tea House seven years ago are still in Shenzhen waiting for long-overdue appeal judgments. The delay by Guangdong's high court in judging their appeals highlights the sensitive nature of cross-border crimes involving Hong Kong residents. An upcoming trial about a cross-border shooting plot - targeting politician Martin Lee Chu-ming and tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying - has been likened to the tea house case. Under mainland law, the handling of criminal appeals by a provincial high court can last up to 21/2 months before a decision must be made. But the five men convicted of the November 30, 2002, tea house murder appealed in July 2007 and their appeals were heard in December that year. One of them, Hong Kong actor-turned-businessman Yeung Ka-on, who pleaded not guilty to murder when the case was tried in late 2006, appealed against his conviction and sentence of life imprisonment. Mainland hitman Yang Wen, a former soldier who shot Lam dead at point-blank range, appealed against his death sentence. Hong Kong triad boss Lau Yat-yin and former Macau casino manager Tse Bing appealed against their sentences of life imprisonment. Former mainland soldier Zhang Zhixin appealed against his 13-year jail term. Lam, 54, a director of Digger Holdings and an investor in Shenzhen's Mission Hills Golf Club, was shot as he was having breakfast in the tea house in Stanley Street, Central. Judges from the Guangdong Higher People's Court heard the appeals in Shenzhen rather than Guangzhou because transferring the felons would have been dangerous and expensive. The appeal judges' verdicts will be final, but if they uphold Yang's death sentence the decision will be reviewed by the mainland's top court. Yeung, popular during the golden era of Hong Kong television in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was found to be the mastermind, the one who told Lau to plan the killing. Lau offered to pay Tse HK$2 million, although Tse ended up collecting only HK$1.1 million, in Macau. Tse then hired Zhang and Yang for HK$400,000 and arranged for them to come to Hong Kong. Yang was paid HK$160,000 to carry out the plan. In 1998, two legal cases stirred up debate about the scope of the jurisdictions of Hong Kong and mainland courts in cross-border crimes. Hong Kong triad boss 'Big Spender' Cheung Tze-keung and 17 other Hongkongers were tried in Guangzhou for offences committed both in Hong Kong and on the mainland. In a separate case, mainlander Li Yuhui was arrested and tried on the mainland over the murder of five people in Hong Kong's Telford Gardens.