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NIA launches search for Hong Kong activist illegally in Taiwan

2019/05/07 23:19:00

Taipei, May 7 (CNA) Following the playing of a voice recording allegedly by Hong Kong activist Lee Sin Yi (李倩怡) on Taiwan Statebuilding Party's YouTube live streaming Tuesday night, Taiwan authorities are looking for Lee, who is believed to have been in the country illegally since 2017.

Lee entered Taiwan on Jan. 6, 2017 on a tourist visa after fleeing Hong Kong prior to a court case following her participation in a mass protest. An arrest warrant was issued when she failed to show up in court.

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) has no record of Lee leaving Taiwan and an official said she has overstayed her 30-day tourist visa and is currently in Taiwan illegally.

Following the broadcast the NIA has stepped up its effort to locate Lee.

Hong Kong nationals who overstay their visas are liable to be fined NT$2,000 (US$64)-NT$10,000 and banned from returning for one to three years, according to the Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong and Macao Affairs.

The 20-year-old activist allegedly participated in the Mong Kok protest during Lunar New Year in 2016. She was charged with two counts of rioting and one of assaulting police officers but was later released on bail of HK$3,000 (US$385).

When asked by reporters if Lee can apply for long term residency status like Li Jiabao (李家寶), a Chinese student in Taiwan who has sought political asylum after criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in March, the NIA said the case will be handled in accordance with existing laws because Taiwan has no law on asylum.

However, the NIA also noted that Lee has not filed any request for political asylum.

During Tuesday' program titled "Things money can't buy: Hong Kong emigres' most sorrowful appeal to Taiwan," which also featured former Causeway Bay Books owner Lam Wing Kee (林榮基), Lee criticized the Chinese government for suppressing social movements in Hong Kong in the name of justice.

Lee warned that Taiwan could follow in Hong Kong if pro-China politicians win the 2020 election.

Program host Chen Yi-chi (陳奕齊), chairman of the Taiwan Statebuilding Party, said that he has no knowledge as to Lee's whereabouts.

(By Huang Li-yun and Emerson Lim)
Enditem/AW