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    From today's South China Morning Post.

    Tuesday, January 21, 2003

    Anguish of detained cancer sufferer
    I feel no remorse, says businessman, only indignation at the government's failure to help me when my rights are infringed

    CHOW CHUNG-YAN in Shanghai and GARY CHEUNG

    Prev. Story | Next Story


    A Hong Kong businessman with leukaemia who has been detained in Shanghai without trial for more than a year has spoken of his nightmare in jail and warned other investors to learn from his experience.
    Lan Zhen-xing, 54, said his greatest wish now was to win his freedom and live his last days in Hong Kong.

    Lan was arrested at the Lowu border checkpoint in Shenzhen in October 2001 by Shanghai public security officers after a business venture turned sour.

    He was taken to Shanghai and has been held in custody without trial ever since.

    The local authorities have refused to let him out on bail even though both mainland and Hong Kong doctors say he could die within a month. His only hope of a cure is if he receives specialist medicine in Hong Kong or the United States.

    "I feel no remorse, no sorrow in my heart but only strong indignation," Lan said from hospital yesterday.

    "Indignation at how local officers abuse the laws and how useless the Hong Kong government is when it cannot even protect the basic rights of its people."

    Lan had a business dispute with Shanghai Ming Hang United Development Company over a joint venture in Shenzhen 10 years ago, in which he invested $28 million. He said he was willing to solve the case legally in court but could not accept being detained without trial.

    "They did not even inform my family after they arrested me. The Shanghai police officers interrogated me day and night. Last January, I fell into a coma during one of the interrogations. Jail doctors told them to stop or I would be killed. They gave me an hour's respite and pressed on afterwards." He was forced to sleep with 15 other people in a tiny room without a bed.

    "Each day I eat dried carrot and congee. In winter I can take a hot bath only once a month. I feel dizzy all the time but they have never given me a proper diagnosis. When the doctors examined me in November last year, they found I was already on the edge of death."

    Mr Lan says he still has a chance of living if he can return to Hong Kong, but the Shanghai authorities have repeatedly refused his requests despite pleas from Hong Kong delegates of the National People's Congress and Legislative Council members.

    "Even if I'm already beyond doctors' help, I still want to spend my last days in Hong Kong and fight till the end."

    Under mainland laws, the police can hold a person for no more than eight months without trial. But Lan said mainland officers had laughed off his lawyer's request for a release. He accused the Hong Kong government of failing to fulfil its responsibilities.

    "I'm not asking them to fight for me in the court. What I demand is that they should speak up for me when my legal rights are infringed. If the Hong Kong government keeps silent, who can we turn to?"

    Lan said he hoped other people in Hong Kong could learn from his experience.

    "Although the legal system on the mainland has greatly improved in the past 10 years, many local governments still abuse and misuse the laws," he said. "There is no security for us. When you come here to invest, you should bear in mind that the risk is not just about money but your life.

    "The SAR government must change its attitude. This is not interfering with the mainland law, this is to ensure a fair trial can be carried out."

    A spokeswoman for the Security Bureau said yesterday that the special administrative region's (SAR) Beijing office had met Lan's family last week and referred their complaint to the mainland departments concerned. She said the government would follow up the case and offer help.

    The SAR government would not interfere with the mainland's judicial system under "one country, two systems", she said. "But we are concerned with the legitimate rights of those Hong Kong people who are detained on the mainland."



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